SPRINGFIELD, Mo. As much of our region is opening up after the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, medical professionals say the number of positive cases is on the rise.
Now, Springfield City leaders are considering taking action to require us to wear face masks while in closed public spaces as a means to curb the spread.
Clay Goddard, Director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department addressed the city council during a meeting Tuesday.
“We continue to urge people to use that practice. The question is whether the community is ready for an ordinance,” he said.
The Council is now considering that question, to make people wear masks or not?
Council member Craig Hosmer said: “If we don’t do something and there is a resurgence, it will be difficult and it will go back and close what we have already opened.”
Medical experts, such as Dr. Robin Trotman of Cox Health, have seen more patients in the past two weeks than at any other time of the year.
That leads him to see the importance of masks.
“At first, I was probably a little skeptical as well. We thought of a mask as 100 percent effective, all the time, for all illnesses. That’s why we use them in healthcare. That won’t be the case in the community, but what? What if you can inhibit 95 percent of the cases? Right now, that would probably save lives, “he said.
Case in point; The exhibition case at the Great Clips Salon in Glenstone.
If you had two sick hairdressers and 140 people didn’t get sick, we know there should be between five and ten cases of that, “said Trotman.” There was zero and zero follow-up of those cases with those people, so they had no family getting sick. “
The leaders of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department agree.
Assistant Principal Katie Towns said: “Until we get to a point where we have a large-scale intervention like a vaccine or something like that, we have to use the tools available to us.”
Doctors know that many people would not like the idea of forced masking, but for them, it is about sacrificing a little to save, perhaps, many lives.
“It is not political. It has nothing to do with your independent freedoms. The health department may tell you that you have to wear shoes and a shirt in a restaurant. We simply give up certain freedoms to function as a normal society,” said Trotman.
That is why the local government is considering other options to protect the public.
Hosmer said, “I would suggest that we consider some requirements for masking.”
“It only takes a few cases to spread quickly,” Towns said.
“I don’t want to stay home for a month and a half like you don’t,” said Trotman.
Right now, the only city in our area that has some sort of mask-requiring ordinance is Fayetteville Arkansas.
Officials in Joplin voted against a similar ordinance on Wednesday night.