The coronavirus is believed to have hit southwest Missouri. During a press conference Thursday evening in Springfield, Governor Parson says a Springfield patient in their 20s who recently traveled to Austria has tested positive for the respiratory virus. So far, Missouri has tested 73 patients for the illness.

Springfield – Greene County Health Department Director Clay Goddard, and area medical professionals were at the press conference and said they will be in contact
with anyone who was in contact with the patient.

In addition the Center for Disease Control will be sending more testing kits to Missouri to allow for more accurate detection of the virus.

The burden on hospitals at this time is checking, testing and treating symptomatic patients who come into the emergency rooms– whether they have COVID-19 or not.
Missouri Hospital Association spokesperson Dave Dillon says his members are and have been, preparing for months…but they need some help from federal agencies who can make short-term changes.

One of those is a law that requires emergency rooms to treat anyone on site who walks in the door – whether they have the virus or not

Missouri now has 2 confirmed cases of COVID-19

The state has the ability to test close to 1000 people and up to 3000 hospital spaces to treat infected people. Dr. Randall Williams, the director of Missouri Health and Senior Services says only 14 percent of those infected will need hospital support. Senator Bill Eigel says the state is more than ready to step in economically. Each test costs $120 and the state currently has $9.9 million in funding, but Eigel says it’s important to be ready for a more extreme case as well.

Dr. Williams says residents should take all necessary precautions, specifically those over the age of 65, as the CDC has expanded criteria for testing requirements to include those above 65 with symptoms.

Results came back negative for a patient who met the criteria to be tested for coronavirus at Phelps Health in Rolla.

The patient’s test was pending Wednesday. In a Facebook post, Phelps Health said: “Phelps Health is following its established COVID-19 policy and procedures, and has isolated the patient.”

According to the post, Phelps Health is working closely with its Infection Prevention team as well as local and state health departments. Again that test came back negative.

Meanwhile, Drury University, Evangel and College of the Ozarks have announced that spring break will be extended by a week for all students, in order to mitigate the community spread of the coronavirus. According to the announcement the extension includes all classes and students, day school, evening and online, and the graduate college at Drury. OTC canceled classes for today, (Friday) they also extended spring break by one week for all seated, hybrid and online courses.

Going forward, any seated courses that can be taught in an online format will resume online beginning Monday, March 30. These courses will remain online for the remainder of the semester. Classes that cannot be taught online (labs and technical education courses) will resume in person on March 30.

At this time, all OTC locations will remain open and continue business operations. Unless otherwise notified, staff should continue to report to work. The school asks students to take home any textbooks, course materials and devices before spring break. Locations will be open for you to retrieve these items if you have left something behind.

And it was announced Thursday the Major League Baseball will delay the 2020 opening day by a least two weeks because of the of the Coronavirus. MLB Commissioner, Robert Manfred says, in best interest of the millions of fans, players and staff we have suspended all Spring Training games as well. Manfred says MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season. He says, with the concerns of the spreading Cornavirus nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of everyone at the ballparks around the country.

The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Lake Ozark has been canceled due to concerns about virus.
Parade organizers had affirmed plans to continue with the parade earlier this week, but announced their decision to cancel the parade, last night (Thursday)

Other local St. Pat’s festivities, including the Water Parade and Short Bus Shuffle, are still proceeding as planned.