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Eddie Gumucio, local musician and educator, and host of KSMU’s Wednesday night program “Beneath the Surface,” organizes a live music festival in Springfield every August, called “Queen City Shout.” It features area musicians, and raises money for local non-profits. During the current Stay-At-Home Coronavirus order, nobody is able to perform live, or go out to live venues to hear music. One of Eddie Gumucio’s friends shared a Facebook link with him that gave him an idea.                                                                                          

Schools across the Ozarks are still trying to figure out what the rest of the school year will look like.  Some are using online learning.  Others are just trying to meet the immediate needs of students and families.

The Reeds Spring School District falls into that last category.

Dr. Cody Hirschi is superintendent of Reeds Spring Schools.  Right now they’re just taking things one week at a time, he said.

In this episode of These Ozarks Hills, longtime storyteller Marideth Sisco encourages those who are alone right now to think of solitude, rather than isolation. Hear the audio from the segment below:


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Some cities in the Ozarks are facing sewage backups because residents are flushing non-toilet paper products down the toilet. This comes as more people are staying home—and many are also cleaning with sanitizing wipes and paper towels. 

The cities of West Plains and Mountain Grove are reporting more non-toilet paper products in their sewer systems.


You won’t be able to float, hike, camp or take part in any other recreational activities at the Buffalo National River in Arkansas in the near future.   The park is now closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  That closure includes the river, trails, open spaces and campgrounds. 

Buffalo National River spokesperson, Cassie Branstetter, said it was a decision that wasn’t made lightly.

Watch the latest press briefing from the White House Coronavirus Task Force for April 27, 2020.

  What do you do during a stay-at-home order if you don't have a home to go to?  In Springfield, Victory Mission offers emergency shelter

With so many children out of school due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ozarks Public Television has begun broadcasting a new, over-the-air educational channel so that high-quality learning can continue at home. The free programming will serve viewers across the Ozarks region, including the many families who do not have internet access or computers at home.

Springfield-based humanitarian relief organization Convoy of Hope is known for its large-scale operations.  For example, it sent out 60 tractor trailers of mostly food and paper products across the United States last week alone in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

An Ozark man, laid off from his job in the restaurant industry due to the coronavirus, has changed his focus from working to bringing joy to essential personnel in these trying times. 

Andy Goessmann and his wife, Taylor, started the fundraiser around the time the stay at home orders were being put into place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.  It's called "Thank You, Springfield Front Line!  Lunch on Us!"

State parks in Missouri will be closed as of 5 p.m. Thursday, April 2, to address overcrowding as the coronavirus continues to spread in the state.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources plans to close Castlewood, Elephant Rocks, Watkins Woolen Mill and Weston Bend State Parks.  St. Joe State Park will close the off-road vehicle riding area.

The closures will last until April 30.

Missouri DNR director, Carol Comer, said, as conditions and recommendations change, they’ll make additional closures as needed. 

It's been nearly three weeks since Greene County, Missouri reported its first confirmed COVID-19 case.  As of Tuesday, health officials have confirmed 50 positive cases in the county.

Starting on Wednesday, a Springfield lab plans to offer testing of COVID-19 for patients referred by their health care providers. Officials hope this will lessen the wait times for test results and slow the spread of the illness.

The private lab, Dynamic DNA Laboratories, confirmed with KSMU is has 4,000 test kits to distribute, and it’s already ordered 4,000 more kits.

Austin O’Reilly is the CEO of Dynamic DNA, and he spoke at a virtual press conference Tuesday in Springfield.

Mercy Health Foundation is donating $30,000 to help support the local homeless services support system as the number of cases in Greene County continues to increase.

There are at least 48 cases in the county, including four deaths. 

In a building that’s 126 years old, modern technology will allow Springfield City Council to continue holding public meetings during the coronavirus pandemic.

From here on out, meetings will be held electronically to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The only person in Council Chambers at Historic City Hall during the April 6 meeting will be Mayor Ken McClure and an occasional staff member.  All other council members will be joining in via Zoom from the safety of their homes.

 

The City of Nixa has dedicated a website listing tips and resources for families and businesses to get through the coronavirus pandemic.

The Missouri Academy of Family Physicians has endorsed the Medicaid expansion campaign in Missouri.

 

Missouri State University students return to class Monday, March 30, but all classes will be online.  The school ceased in-person classes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Most campus buildings are closed, but the open-access computer lab in Meyer Library and Magers Health and Wellness Center are open.

MSU has established a student success hotline.  An MSU support team will answer any questions students might have.

The MSU Counseling Center has suspended face-to-face appointments and is now providing tele-counseling sessions.

What do you get when you mix an infectious disease doctor, a few "techies," and a physician's assistant?  Turns out, it's the winning combination for 3D printed respirators for Citizen’s Memorial Hospital in Bolivar in case the gear is needed in responding to the coronavirus outbreak.

Matt Havens, a physician assistant at CMH, worked with family and tech groups to create respirators through 3D printing. They used a design they found on the web but it didn’t work very well.

This morning, host Hue-Ping Chin speaks with Cara Erwin, community wellness coordinator with Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

Today’s discussion explores the ongoing risks and continued popularity of vaping for today’s youth.  Erwin shares the health risks and ongoing challenges related to reducing this phenomenon.

 

CoxHealth Heart Center, a stand-alone clinic in Branson, is expected to re-open Monday, March 30, after an extensive cleaning.  CoxHealth officials say that’s after an employee of the center tested positive for COVID-19. 

The Taney County Health Department and CoxHealth are contacting clinic employees and members of the public who may have had close contact with that person during a three-day period, according to a statement from the hospital.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 inside a Springfield assisted living facility has jumped to eight, a Springfield-Greene County Health Department official said Friday.

Among those cases is a resident who died before the outbreak was discovered in the facility; she was not tested, but her case is considered an epidemiologically-linked case, according to the health department's assistant director, Katie Towns. 

The House is debating and then voting on the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that the Senate passed earlier this week. Watch the floor proceedings live.

Jeff Houghton, host of the Mystery Hour TV show, contacted Springfield Regional Opera artistic director Michael Spyres to help with a special project earlier this week at several area independent and assisted living and nursing facilities. Michael, a major tenor soloist at opera houses around the world, is currently at home near Rogersville, and we talked on the phone yesterday about his nursing home concerts.                    

Teachers across the Ozarks are finding innovative ways to connect with their students since the coronavirus is forcing them to be apart.

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This week, teachers from Willard Central Elementary formed a car parade and drove through their students’ neighborhoods.  Cars bore messages such as “We Miss U,” “Keep Reading” and “You R World Changers.”  Kids drew messages for their teachers with sidewalk chalk and held up signs.  Both students and teachers waved at each other from a safe distance.

Governor Mike Parson said Thursday if he could prioritize the testing of all residents in nursing homes where there’s been a coronavirus outbreak, he would – but he says he cannot due to a shortage of tests. 

Parson was responding to a question from KSMU-Ozarks Public Radio about state protocol that currently says only those residents with COVID-19 symptoms will be tested, even in facilities where the coronavirus has been confirmed.

There’s now a separate entrance at Cox South in Springfield for anyone with symptoms of COVID-19.

A large white tent has been erected along the drive-up area in front of the Emergency Department.  The alternate triage and treatment site is for patients who go to the ED with COVID-19 and other respiratory symptoms. 

CoxHealth officials say the new entrance is for patients with mild symptoms. 

Mercy Springfield opened a forward triage facility at its ER Monday for patients with symptoms of COVID-19.

There were 23 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, in Greene County as of March 25 at 12:30 p.m.   Three of those patients died.  They were all residents of Morningside of Springfield, an assisted care facility.

Seven patients required hospitalization.  Five are no longer ill and have been released from isolation.

Find out the latest numbers and other information about the coronavirus in the Ozarks here

As residents of Greene and Christian Counties stick closer to home due to a mandate, there’s a certain population that’s been doing that since the coronavirus first showed up here.  They are senior citizens and others at high risk for COVID-19.

"This is a very difficult time, particularly for our seniors, because this isn't just a physical health crisis, but it's also really become a mental health crisis," said Chelsea Gilliam, a clinical psychologist at Burrell Behavioral Health.

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