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Springfield-Greene County health leaders fear spike in COVID-19 cases as holiday season begins

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 4:50 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Health officials across Missouri and Arkansas report an uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over the last seven days.

Greene County averages 54 new cases. Hospitalizations stand at 76, nearly double what it was a week ago, with 40.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department advises caution for those gathering for the holidays, as a spike in cases is likely nationwide.

“Springfield is still identified as an area of high to extreme transmission of COVID-19,” said Whitney Mann, public health information lead with the Greene County Health Department. “So they recommend folks, regardless of vaccination status, still wear a mask indoors.”

Mann says this is true even for family gatherings.

The uptick is believed to be a seasonal trend, typical with the flu and colds.

”We can’t really speculate for why we’re seeing this uptick in cases, but we do know with colder temperatures people are forced inside more,” said Mann. “That makes a big difference, as opposed to the summer months where we can be outside and a little more spaced.”

Health leaders say those gathering should be cautious of how the virus can spread. They ask you to gather with people who are vaccinated, tell those who don’t feel well to stay home, and keep groups small.

“We know that for Thanksgiving folks are typically coming from different communities,” Mann explained. “So you want to do you best because transmission may be different from where others are coming from.”

While a spike from the holidays is likely, the goal is to keep minimize it as much as possible. Things you can do to minimize spread:

- Gather outside if possible

-Distance: Don’t have everyone in the same room

- Ventilation: Even cracking a window can help circulate air

”We want folks to celebrate as safely as possible this season. We want them to be able to see their families,” said Mann. ‘We just encourage that they take mitigation and keep it at the forefront of there mind while they are gathering to help keep the entire public safe.”

Health leaders also say it doesn’t hurt to take a rapid COVID-19 test before going to gatherings, even if you don’t have any symptoms. It can tell you in as little as 15 minutes if you are contagious before getting together with family.

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