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  1. #11
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    jewplin Missery

    Default National Guard to be brought in to help clean Grove Nursing Center

    National Guard to be brought in to help clean Grove Nursing Center

    13 deaths, 78 positives for COVID-19 linked to nursing home

    By Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller news@joplinglobe.com 3 May 2020


    GROVE, Okla. — A team of specially trained Oklahoma National Guard members will help officials at a Grove nursing home where 13 people have died disinfect and deep clean the building.

    On Thursday, members of the 10-person team will arrive at Grove Nursing Center. The long-term care and rehabilitation center has been the epicenter of coronavirus cases in Delaware County.

    As of May 1, the center’s numbers totaled 78 cases, 50 of which were residents and 28 of which were employees.

    Thirteen residents have died, most in the highest risk category of 65 years and older.

    Delaware County has reported a total of 13 deaths and 90 cases. Delaware ranks sixth among Oklahoma counties in number of COVID-19 deaths, and eighth in numbers of cases, although it is not part of any of the metropolitan areas.

    James Thompson, health planning coordinator for District 4 within the Oklahoma Department of Health, said National Guardsmen began their cleaning efforts by targeting long-term care homes with a high number of positive cases.

    Thompson said the unit uses a spray designed to limit the spread of the virus for up to six months.

    Eisen Shelton, Grove Nursing Home administrator, compares the cleaning process to ones completed in Georgia nursing homes. He said the National Guard unit will use deep sanitizing practices specifically in the common areas.

    “They are helping out and just being awesome,” Shelton said. “They are doing the work like our housekeepers do but on a larger scale.”

    Shelton said that as of Friday, the center has 29 active COVID-19 cases. While those cases are treated as positive, Shelton said not every resident or staff member is sick.

    He also said it takes two negative tests before a person is considered a nonactive case. A retesting process is underway, which Shelton said should be completed in the next week.

    He called the pandemic “uncharted waters” for the center, adding that his staff is working hard to combat the virus.

    The first positive case at the center was registered in early April. A large number of the positive cases came during Easter weekend, after all staff and residents were tested on April 10.

    Statewide testing

    In another effort to get accurate COVID-19 information regarding long-term care and nursing homes, officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health are beginning to test every long-term care resident and staff member in the state. The goal is to have everyone tested by the end of May using a saliva-based test.

    As of now, Grove Nursing Center, like other long-term care/nursing homes in Oklahoma, remains closed to the public. Thompson said the closures will remain in effect as the state goes through the various phases of reopening.

    Thompson said he hopes people will “not throw caution to the wind” and remember to limit contact, uphold social distancing and follow guidelines recommended by the centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    “If you aren’t doing it for yourself, do it for those who are at risk,” Thompson said, adding a caution about the upcoming Mother’s Day weekend. “Mothers can be at higher risk because of their age or health conditions/factors.”

    Mother's Day is Sunday, May 10.


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  2. #12
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    May 2009

    Default Study says: Joplin now nation’s number one hotspot for COVID-19

    Study says: Joplin now nation’s number one hotspot for COVID-19

    Steve Smith


    Most of the time, it’s good to hold the top position. But not always.

    Joplin is now the nation’s number one hotspot for COVID-19 according to the Dartmouth Atlas of Healthcare Project.

    Joplin took the top position this weekend because it ranked first for the daily growth rate of COVID cases over the last seven days.

    The Dartmouth Atlas of Healthcare Project bases its analysis on “natural markets where residents of the United States receive their care,” and breaks the country into 306 hospital referral regions.

    That means county case and death rates are aggregated to each of those regions. The project incorporates rates of reported COVID-19 cases (based on population), rates of reported deaths from COVID-19 (also based on population) and average growth rates in reported cases over the prior week.

    The area under consideration, defined as the “Joplin referral area,” extends into southeast Kansas, northeast Oklahoma and as far south as the Arkansas state line.

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  3. #13
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    Default Tyson Foods releases results of COVID testing at Noel facility

    Tyson Foods releases results of COVID testing at Noel facility

    Posted: June 26, 2020 4:45 PM
    by Chris Warner


    NOEL, Mo. – Tyson Foods has released the results of recent COVID testing at it’s Noel plant. According to the release, 1,142 team members were tested for COVID-19 between June 17th and June 19th. Of those, 291 tested positive, with 249 of those not showing any symptoms at all and without testing, would not have otherwise been identified.

    The 291 is in addition to 80 positive cases identified by the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services or by the their own health care providers.

    The full release from Tyson Foods is below.


    SPRINGDALE, Ark. – June 26, 2020 – Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) today announced the results of facility-wide testing for COVID-19 at its poultry facility in Noel, Missouri, one of more than 40 U.S. locations where the company’s extensive program of prevention and testing for the coronavirus is helping to contain the risk of community spread.

    Of the 1,142 team members who were tested onsite at the Noel facility from June 17 to June 19, 291 tested positive, of whom 249 – or more than 85% – did not show any symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified. This is in addition to 80 positive cases identified among individuals who work at the facility by the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services or when seeking care through their own health care providers. Team members who test positive receive paid leave during the quarantine period and may return to work only when they have met the criteria established by both the CDC and Tyson.

    Tyson believes that large-scale testing protects its team members, helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 in local communities and helps maintain a reliable food supply chain. The company is also using sophisticated predictive tools to monitor areas of the country where hotspots could emerge.

    To date, Tyson has conducted almost 40,000 tests throughout the country, covering more than one-third of its U.S.-based team members, in one of the largest corporate-sponsored testing programs in the United States. Testing at the Noel facility was done in partnership with MATRIX MEDICAL, a leading medical clinical services company.

    “We are pleased that Tyson was able to effectively use the ‘box-in’ strategy by conducting facility-wide testing of their Noel team members,” said Dr. Randall Williams, Director of Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. “This approach will help protect the health of the Tyson team members and also the community at large.”

    “Our priority and focus have been the protection of our team members and their communities. That starts with large-scale testing, but our holistic approach goes much further,” said Tom Brower, Senior Vice President of Health and Safety for Tyson Foods. “We believe it’s imperative that we share our experience addressing this pandemic because safety is not a point of competitive advantage. For example, we continue to explore additional enhancements in Personal Protective Equipment, airflow enhancements in our facilities, and improving healthcare options for our team members in the communities where we do business.”

    Protective measures put in place at Tyson production facilities include symptom screenings for all team members before every shift, providing mandatory protective face masks to all team members, as well as a range of social distancing measures, including physical barriers between workstations and in breakrooms. Tyson has also designated more than 500 team members as social distance monitors in all its facilities and is working with team members to provide training and education, in several languages on how best to follow CDC guidelines both at work and home.

    “Our team members do essential work, and their health and safety come first,” said Nathan McKay, Complex Manager for Tyson in Noel. “It is our job to protect our team members, and by disclosing our results we not only take the necessary precautions for our facility, but also provide the wider Noel community with the information it needs to stop the spread of the virus.”

    About Tyson Foods

    Tyson Foods, Inc. is one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein. Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and grown under three generations of family leadership, the company has a broad portfolio of products and brands like Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Ball Park®, Wright®, Aidells®, ibp® and State Fair®. Tyson Foods innovates continually to make protein more sustainable, tailor food for everywhere it’s available and raise the world’s expectations for how much good food can do. Headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, the company has 141,000 team members. Through its Core Values, Tyson Foods strives to operate with integrity, create value for its shareholders, customers, communities and team members and serve as a steward of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it. Visit TYSONFOODS.COM.

  4. #14
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    jewplin Missery

    Default A small Missouri city thought it had dodged the coronavirus. Now, it’s hitting home.

    A small Missouri city thought it had dodged the coronavirus. Now, it’s hitting home.

    By Griff Witte
    July 4, 2020 at 5:00 a.m. CDT


    It seemed this spring that the pandemic sweeping America had passed Joplin by.

    The meticulously prepared coronavirus unit at the hospital was all but deserted. The health department dutifully reported each day it had nothing new to report. The novel coronavirus was terrorizing the coasts and larger inland hubs, killing people by the thousands. But in the modest southwest Missouri city where Bonnie and Clyde once hid out from the law, it was more rumor than reality.

    “We’re dead center in the middle of the nation,” said Joplin Mayor Ryan Stanley. “It took so long to get to us.”

    Now that it has arrived following a rapid statewide reopening, however, it’s hitting the region with a vengeance. After starting June with no active cases in the city, Joplin entered July at the heart of one of the country’s fastest growing coronavirus hot spots. And like many places that skipped the springtime surge only to be walloped this summer, it’s fighting back with a much-diminished arsenal.

    Missouri’s stay-at-home order is gone and unlikely to return. Tests are in short supply. The hospital is bumping against capacity as coronavirus cases pile up and doctors work their way through a backlog of non-emergency procedures.

    Meanwhile, the one measure that medical experts say could turn the coronavirus tide — widespread use of masks — has become mired in politics. Joplin’s city council spent nearly five hours debating whether to require them last week, only to reject the proposal by a single vote.

    In a deeply conservative region where Donald Trump won nearly 80 percent of 2016’s presidential ballots, any attempt to force people to mask up was likely to backfire, Stanley concluded. Most residents who had spoken at the meeting argued against the measure, citing infringement of their personal freedom.

    “I’m surprised it’s as divisive as it is,” said the mayor, who personally wears masks and advocates that others do the same, but who cast the deciding vote against mandating them. “If we’re having this crazy spike in the area, don’t you think we’d want to err on the side of caution?”

    Joplin’s struggles to contain its outbreak reflect just how difficult it may be for places that are only now experiencing the virus for the first time to reclaim control. Collectively, they have the benefit of having watched other areas to see what works and what doesn’t.

    But they are also reckoning with a population that long ago grew weary of making sacrifices to confront an enemy that seemed to exist only in theory.

    “There’s a little bit of the boy who cried wolf,” said Toby Teeter, president of the Joplin Chamber of Commerce. “This town shut down when there were 18 cases total. Now, there are 100 a day [in the region]. People are almost numb to it.”

    With many of the new national outbreaks concentrated in relatively rural and conservative areas, many people are also less trusting of medical advice.

    “Eighty percent of people here are watching one channel and it’s downplaying the epidemic,” Teeter said, referring to Fox News. “So there’s a lot of confusion.”

    Teeter has spearheaded efforts to increase mask use among business owners and their customers. Early in the epidemic, when masks were in short supply, he helped bring 32,000 to the city and distributed them to essential businesses, such as nursing homes, where they were badly needed.

    Lately, he’s been working on a public education campaign to raise awareness about just how effective masks can be in containing the spread of the coronavirus.

    But he said he has encountered stiff resistance. President Trump has famously refused to wear a mask in public, and has mocked those who do. The president’s example has had a pronounced impact in Joplin, Teeter said.

    “You go to Walmart and you might see a couple hundred people shopping and only a dozen wearing masks,” he said. “This is not Washington and it’s not New York. It’s an uphill battle to get people to mask up.”

    For a time this spring, watching from afar as case numbers exploded in big American cities was just about the only evidence that Joplin residents had that coronavirus was real.

    The former mining hub, home to 50,000 people and bisected by Route 66, is tucked into the corner of southwest Missouri, near the borders of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. The surrounding region is marked by thick forests, picturesque waterfalls and few people.

    There had been a handful of early spring cases in Joplin. But rather than take off, infection rates petered out. Hospitals that had braced for an onslaught — setting aside entire areas for patients sick with coronavirus and canceling elective care — were sleepy, not swarmed.

    “There was a month where I was thinking of mothballing the isolation unit,” said Rob McNab, the physician who directs coronavirus care at Joplin’s Freeman Hospital, one of two medical centers in town. “It seemed like the wave was gone. It had passed us by.”

    As was true across America, much of life had come to a halt in Joplin in mid-March, with schools shut down and gatherings forbidden. So when Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) announced plans for a sweeping reopening of businesses as of May 4, the city was more than ready.

    Joplin came alive. Hair salons reopened. Restaurants filled up. Kids returned to ballfields.

    The hum of normal activity had returned. But the virus wasn’t gone.

    The area, McNab said, had been a victim of its own success. With little evidence of a real threat, the reaction to shut everything down had seemed excessive — even if it was actually effective in warding off a first wave.

    “The reason there was nobody in that isolation unit was because these things worked,” McNab said. But instead of appreciation, “there was a sense of complacency. People were asking: Is it just like the flu? Is it overhyped by the media? People tend to find the answers that suit their desires.”

    The effects of people acting on those desires were soon on display in the numbers posted by local health departments. They had had little to report for months. But that changed after Memorial Day as dozens of new cases were added daily.

    “We went from 60 cases to 1,200 in 27 days,” said Stanley, using figures that include surrounding counties.

    Some of the biggest regional outbreaks have come at chicken processing plants outside the city. At a Tyson Foods facility in McDonald County, less than an hour’s drive from Joplin, nearly 400 workers tested positive for the coronavirus late last month.

    The majority were asymptomatic. But the cases have contributed to the viral spread that has also hit a Joplin nursing home and is circulating in the general population even as testing kits run low. Last week, the city recorded its first two coronavirus deaths. This week, it recorded five more.

    Meanwhile, Freeman Hospital has been filling up as patients come from within Joplin — and far beyond. McNab has had to triple the size of the coronavirus unit in recent weeks, and he knows he can’t continue to expand indefinitely with the hospital already taking on its full load of non-coronavirus patients.

    “How far can we take this before we have to transfer patients elsewhere?” he said. “That’s a scary conversation. We’ve never been in a situation where we can’t meet the needs of the community.”

    There are few obvious tools to beat back the surge. Parson, the governor, has given no indication that he plans to reinstate the state’s stay-at-home order. Stanley, the mayor, said the city may have to consider rolling back the reopening locally, but acknowledged that would be difficult.

    Schools, meanwhile, are slated to reopen next month.

    Anthony Monteleone thought that requiring masks might be a relatively low-cost way to bend the curve. Late last month, the city council member in his second term proposed an ordinance modeled on those passed in other cities, including nearby Fayetteville, Ark. He was cautiously optimistic that it would pass.

    Instead, it went down to defeat last week following a contentious debate. Those who spoke out against it said they were exasperated by the way the virus had affected their lives and would not tolerate the government introducing more disruptions — even one as minor as a cloth facial covering when out in public.

    “Our civil rights are being trampled,” 69-year-old Dixie Hogan told the council. “We just want to return to normal.”

    Monteleone was stunned. Wearing a mask seemed a small price to pay given the scale of the coronavirus threat. What will happen if the numbers keep growing, and larger sacrifices are required?

    “It’s shocking when something so simple to save lives becomes so polarized,” he said. “As a nation, I just don’t know where we went wrong.”

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  6. #16
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    jewplin Missery

    Default Neosho City Council rejects new COVID ordinance, repeals current one

    Neosho City Council rejects new COVID ordinance, repeals current one

    By Joe Hadsall | Digital Editor Jul 9, 2020 Updated Jul 9, 2020


    Instead of adjusting its current COVID-19 ordinance, the Neosho City Council removed it completely.

    "We can go back to normal life in Neosho," said Mayor Carmin Allen.

    With 4-0 votes, council members removed sections that called for adjustments to the current ordinance, leaving alone a section that repealed the city's existing ordinance. Councilman William Doubek was excused as absent.

    More than 130 people attended the special meeting, held Thursday at the Neosho Civic Auditorium.

    Before members of the public spoke, the council expressed support for an amendment to the ordinance that allowed churches to host their full capacity allowed by building and fire codes.

    That did not stave off criticism from people who spoke against passing the ordinance, saying that it was too much of an intrusion of government into private lives. More than 20 people spoke during the meeting, all of them asking for the council to vote against it. One person, who did not attend, had their statement in favor of the ordinance read by City Clerk Cheyenne Wright.

    "Across the country, ordinances desire to put churches on the same level as theaters and bowling alleys," said Jeremie Bridges, pastor of Canopy Christian Fellowship. "The First Amendment allows free exercise of religion, and you have no right to limit that. The only acceptable limit is no limit."

    Todd Decker, pastor of First Baptist Church of Neosho, said that the halting of services has taken a toll on his congregation, and that further limits would continue that damage.

    "We have been good neighbors. We have canceled sports and activities," Decker said. "But the damage is becoming evident. We see it in our children and families. Our people need to gather for worship, and not be prohibited from that."

    Decker also called on churches to exercise caution and social distancing during those services.

    Members also criticized the city's process over the last few days. The ordinance was to have been discussed during the council's Tuesday meeting, but the ordinance up for discussion did not contain the allowance for churches. The city posted a statement on its Facebook page apologizing for the error.

    A crowd of more than 50 turned out to Tuesday's meeting, presumably over the omission of churches. Allen said that instead of amending the ordinance during Tuesday's meeting, Thursday's special session was called and held in a bigger venue to allow more people to attend and speak.

    A few of the speakers called for the mayor and others to resign over the situation. Many in the crowd, who were not wearing masks, applauded after each presentation against the ordinance. Some of the speakers included former mayors, such as State Rep. Ben Baker and Charles Collinsworth.

    The ordinance would have updated the city's policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the following ways:

    • Businesses and organizations that own buildings open to the public would have their occupancy capped at 50% of their regular occupancy specified by fire and building codes. Educational institutions and day care centers are exempt from this provision. (An amendment earlier approved by the council added churches to this section.)

    • Gatherings of 15 or more people would have been prohibited unless organizers of the gathering presented a letter from the Newton County Health Department approving the organizers' disease prevention strategies.

    • Violations would have been punished under Section 100.130 of the city's charter, which allows for fines of up to $500 and jail sentences of up to three months.

    Thursday's result was a change in direction from previous meetings over the past weeks.

    The ordinance was rooted in discussions the council has held over several previous meetings. In a meeting on June 16, Allen and Councilman Tom Workman said they would like churches to have the same 50% occupancy that businesses and restaurants had in the previous version of the city's order.

    On June 30, a special meeting was held to hear more about the status of the disease and how its spread would be controlled. Dr. Rob McNab, director of Freeman's COVID-19 unit, and other health officials pointed to a spike in cases that led to the Joplin region being labeled as a national hotspot.

    On Thursday evening the Newton County Health Department announced the number of the county's COVID-19 cases rose to 635, with 372 cases in isolation, five hospitalized, 260 released from isolation and three deaths.

    Allen said after the meeting that people who spoke changed his mind about how to vote.

    As for further action, Allen said the city will wait for further directives from the governor, and that people concerned about the spread should take precautions to protect themselves.

    "I'm diabetic, with a heart condition. I'm high-risk, so I need to take precautions," Allen said.

    Follow Digital Editor Joe Hadsall on Twitter at @JoeHadsall.

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  8. #18
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    Default State of emergency extended as virus hits Missouri hospitals

    State of emergency extended as virus hits Missouri hospitals


    COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Republican Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday extended Missouri's state of emergency through March as hospitals struggled to keep up with a rise in coronavirus cases.

    Although there are sufficient beds for patients, the hospitals don't have enough staff to treat the increasing number of sick people, Parson said.

    The state is considering sending in the military and asking for help from medical workers in other states to supplement hospital staffing, he said.

    Coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations are all up.

    According to data from the state health department, 27,358 new virus infections were reported in the past week. That's more than 3,900 new cases a day on average.

    For context, Parson said more new cases were reported in October than during the first eight months of the pandemic in Missouri, and new cases in November have already surpassed October.

    At least 67 people died from the virus in the past week.

    Roughly a quarter of coronavirus tests came back positive in the past week, and 2,629 patients suffering from the virus were hospitalized as of Tuesday.

    The Missouri Hospital Association has asked Parson to require face masks across the state to help curb the virus and ease the burden on hospitals, Jefferson City's KRCG-TV reported.

    The governor on Thursday again refused to do so.

    Instead, he repeated his emphasis on personal responsibility and called on Missourians to do their part by wearing masks, social distancing and washing their hands. He said Thanksgiving should be different this year as families adjust plans to protect each other.

    “It’s up to every one of us to decide whether ... we’re going to take the personal responsibility to slow this virus down,” Parson said.

    Parson said his administration planned to send guidance to local governments on Thursday and would urge local leaders to take action to curb the virus' spread.

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  9. #19
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    Default UPDATED: Joplin approves mandatory mask ordinance in special meeting

    UPDATED: Joplin approves mandatory mask ordinance in special meeting

    From staff reports | news@joplinglobe.com
    Nov 19, 2020


    After hearing testimony by representatives of six hospitals and health agencies that a mask requirement is needed to try to reduce the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases as well as comments from 28 residents, the Joplin City Council enacted a new mask mandate Thursday night, effective immediately.

    The measure will be in force until 11:59 p.m. Feb. 28, unless the council revises it before then.

    There was nearly three hours of public comment on the proposed measure as well as council discussion at the special meeting. Councilman Keenan Cortez made a motion to approve the mandate, seconded by Anthony Monteleone. The vote was 6-3, with Gary Shaw, Doug Lawson and Phil Stinnett casting the "no" votes.

    The council decided to consider a mask mandate again in response to a letter area cities and counties received from health authorities asking for the requirement. Joplin had imposed a mandate in July and allowed it to expire in August.

    Dr. Ron McNab, head of the COVID-19 units at Freeman Hospital West, said that the local health care system is in danger of becoming overwhelmed with coronavirus cases.

    "COVID-19 cases in our community are climbing precipitously," he said. In six weeks, the hospital has seen virus admissions climb from one in 10 patients to one in four patients. Those patients take a lot more resources for care than some of the other types of illnesses and diseases that are treated at the hospital.

    The average length of stay is 11 days for those patients, McNab said. The average length of stay for other patients is 4 1/2 days.

    Jeremy Drinkwitz, president of Mercy Hospital, said the ability to take care patients at Mercy is getting limited because of the amount of staff and resources needed to take care of COVID-19 patients. Currently, 39 percent of the hospital's inpatients are being treated for the disease. He said the health care system needs help to try to reduce that number.

    The nation's medical experts are recommending the use of masks to push down infection rates, Drinkwitz said. "They're telling us this is the right thing to do. I'm asking you to follow the science."

    On top of the extra care needed for those patients, 52 of the hospital's workers were out Thursday with the virus.

    A mask mandate could push down the case numbers enough to get through until COVID-19 vaccines are available, Drinkwitz said.

    Stephanie Brady, executive director of the Community Clinic, also testified about the drain virus cases are causing at the clinic. She said the clinic provides primary care for about 2,000 area residents who do have insurance. The clinic is seeing 10 to 15 patients a day with active symptoms and is getting calls from about 20 people a day seeking testing for the virus.

    "We are really struggling to balance the needs of chronic patients with the COVID patients," she said. Workers are scared of the spread and feel like the community does not care about them because people have resisted wearing masks.

    Steve Douglas, of Access Family Care, said several of its clinics have been shut down because of a shortage of workers resulting from the COVID-19 demand. "We are in a staffing crisis," he said. "We are just worn down. ... Our system is at a breaking point."

    Emergency rooms would be flooded with patients if Access were forced to close entirely, he said.

    But as during past council decisions regarding the pandemic, a number of people were in the audience to speak against the mandate.

    Abbie Covington told the council, "We are not at war with you. We are at war with the devil." She went on to pray for each council member, saying favorable things in the prayers for those members with whom she agreed, but calling on God to make the others sick at their stomachs if they did not "do the right thing" and reject the mandate.

    Troy Kinast contended that many states that have mask mandates still have higher case numbers than those without the regulations.

    Rod Noran told the council that "the problem is we have lost faith. We don't believe we have a creator," and that is causing the pandemic. "I want you to listen to the creator of the science," and turn to faith in Jesus Christ for an answer as well as pursuing innovations in medical treatments rather than using masks.

    Attorney Debra Ferguson threatened the council with recall petitions if it passed the mandate, holding up what presumably were the petitions. There was an outburst among some in the audience, and one man shouted: "I will not wear a mask. I will not wear a mask."

    Mayor Ryan Stanley, who had said at the start of the meeting that outbursts would not be tolerated, told the man to leave the council chambers.

    Shaw said that although his heart went out to the medical professionals who asked for the mandate and he knows some people believe very strongly in masks, he questions how well they work.

    "I want to help people, but I want people to help themselves," and residents should be allowed to do as they believe, he said.

    Because there also are strong beliefs against masks and a mandate expressed by some residents in comments made at the meeting, "I'm concerned that a mask mandate will divide us when we need to be together," Shaw said.

    After the vote to impose the mandate, Covington shouted out, and she too was told the leave the room.


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  10. #20
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    Default No plans yet for mask orders from other cities

    No plans yet for mask orders from other cities

    None of the other towns in Jasper & Newton Counties want to damage their local commerce

    By Joe Hadsall and Debby Woodin news@joplinglobe.com
    Nov 20, 2020


    Though they voted against it, two of Joplin's City Council members expressed disappointment with cities across the region for not answering Mayor Ryan Stanley's call to work on an effort to pass mandatory mask orders.

    "Our mayor reached out twice to the area counties and area cites, and they are all part of this same situation," said Councilman Gary Shaw to Jasper County Health Department Director Tony Moehr during a Thursday meeting. "To be honest, I just wanted to thank you for being here and express disappointment in our neighbors for not standing up and taking a serious look at this thing as well."

    On the day after the Joplin City Council adopted a mask ordinance, other cities across the region announced no similar meetings or efforts, suggesting that the city of Joplin — the home of the region's hospitals — may again be on its own.

    The Globe was unable to reach officials with the cities of Carl Junction, Carthage, Neosho and Webb City to get reactions to the Joplin council's motion or the comments of Shaw and Councilman Phil Stinnett, who also said Thursday he was disappointed over the silence.

    The Jasper County Commission plans to discuss passage of such an order but delayed a decision on Friday because the presiding commissioner, John Bartosh, is recovering from COVID-19. Commissioners thought earlier in the week they would be able to meet Friday to talk about their response to a letter from local medical providers seeking a mask mandate.

    Commissioner Darieus Adams said the commission may try to hold its regular weekly meeting on Tuesday and talk about it then.

    Moehr testified on behalf of a mask mandate Thursday night at a special meeting of the Joplin City Council. Moehr said the county has seen a sharp increase in cases. The positivity rate of COVID tests is about 30%, "so we are not going in the right direction" in controlling the spread, he said.

    But getting the county's other cities to buy in may prove challenging.

    After representatives from the area's hospitals and health care facilities asked in a joint letter for mask orders to slow down the rate of infection, city leaders in Carl Junction, Carthage and Webb City issued a joint statement of their own. In the statement, they encouraged people to wear masks but because of concerns about enforcement said mask wearing would not be mandatory.

    Earlier this week, Newton County Health Department Director Larry Bergner said if he heard of interest from the county's cities, he would consider submitting one to the Newton County Commission. Bergner said he is also skeptical about enforcement of such an order.

    So far, Neosho has given no indications about what it will do. Days after Joplin passed its first mask ordinance in July, the city moved in the opposite direction and removed all of its COVID-19 restrictions, including capacity limits.

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