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The Highway Patrol is suspending driver road testing at all locations through March 31.  Written testing services will continue, but the Highway Patrol will restrict the number of applicants allowed in facility at one time to make sure recommended social distancing measures are followed.

The patrol said it’s monitoring the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and will update the public on testing after March 31 as more information becomes available. 

Springfield Sister Cities Association has cancelled the Cherry Blossom Kite and Piñata Festival scheduled for Saturday, April 4, 2020  at the Springfield Botanical Gardens.

According to a press release issued by the organization, "Sister Cities made this decision in conjunction with the Springfield-Greene County Park Board," following Springfield Mayor Ken McClure's proclamation of civil emergency within the City of Springfield. "At this time, the Kite and Piñata Festival will not be rescheduled," according to Sisters Cities.

Officials with the University/Community Programs (U/CP) Department at Missouri State University-West Plains have canceled the department’s remaining theater events scheduled for this spring.

            These include:

            • Joe and Nick’s VCR Party on March 24;

            • Art Around Town exhibit March 31-April 9, including the April 5 awards ceremony;

            • Thom Wall, Master of Modern Vaudeville, on April 30.

Megan Buchbinder, Marketing Director of Springfield Little Theatre, has told KSMU that Little Theatre has postponed their opening of "Matilda The Musical" due to Coronavirus concerns.

"At this time... our leadership team is currently working on the calendar for the rest of the season to see where things can move around." They will let the community know when the production will be rescheduled.

For information call (417) 869-1334, or visit https://www.springfieldlittletheatre.org.

 

Citizens Memorial Hospital and Citizens Memorial Health Care Foundation have activated a higher level of visitor restrictions and facility access at all locations.

According to CMH officials, “The new policy follows guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and is intended to minimize the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).”

As of Tuesday, March 17, according to a news release:

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra has cancelled their March 28 concert, "The Civil War In Missouri," at Hammons Hall. According to a press release issued by the Symphony:

The City of Nixa said it is taking precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and minimize its impact.

Nixa Utilities are instituting a bill payment deferment program as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Payment for Nixa Utilities bills are still due according to the due date on your bill, however, no one will incur late penalties until May 1, and utilities will not be shut off for unpaid accounts until May 1st.

Nixa Utilities is encouraging customers to pay online rather than visiting the utility billing office.

The City of Joplin is suspending water shut offs for non-payment of sewer bills.  City officials said it’s an effort to help those “who may be facing uncertainty and financial hardship during the rapidly evolving coronavirus…public health emergency.”

The suspension will remain in place until further notice.

“The City of Joplin continues to take all necessary measures to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of services to our community,” the city said in a news release.

According to a press release received from Springfield Regional Opera:

A teacher's job is complex. Not only does the teacher need to communicate subject matter clearly, he or she must do so in a manner that keeps attention. He must minimize distractions, answer questions as they arise, provoke students' critical thinking skills and perhaps most importantly, notice.

Healthcare workers could soon have an option for educational childcare as schools close for long periods due to concerns about the novel coronavirus.

The Discovery Center of Springfield is firming up plans to offer a seven-day-a-week science camp facility for healthcare workers at places like CoxHealth and Mercy that will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to the center’s executive director, Rob Blevins. 

The Discovery Center is now closed to the public to prepare “to offer emergency education and childcare to hundreds of kids each day,” a news release states.

Two more cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in Missouri, according to numbers on the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services' website.  One case is in St. Louis, and another is in a location that hasn't yet been announced.

Eight people have been diagnosed with the illness in the state:  Three in Greene County, one in Henry County, two in St. Louis County, one in St. Louis and one in the unidentified location.

Donations are being taken for the family of the Springfield Police Officer killed in the line of duty on Sunday night.

Christopher Walsh died when responding to a mass shooting at the Kum & Go on E. Chestnut Expressway.  He’s survived by a wife and daughter.

The Springfield Police Officer’s Association has set up a relief fund through Metro Credit Union.  They say all donations will “assist in providing a blanket of protection for his loved ones.”

Mercy Springfield and CoxHealth will begin screening all visitors for illness starting Tuesday, March 17.  Visitors to Mercy will have their temperature checked and will be asked about their recent travel history.  They should use the main south entrance. 

Mercy facilities that will require screenings are:

All 10 branches of the Springfield-Greene County Library District will be closed through Tuesday, March 31, the latest in a flurry of major cancelations and closures due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

According to a news release from the library district, the closures come at the recommendation of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. Drive-up service will also not be available, but some online services will be offered through the library’s website: www.thelibrary.org.  

Springfield Public Schools, the largest public school district in Missouri, has cancelled classes at all of its schools through Friday, April 3, according to phone and email alerts sent to parents Monday afternoon.

According to an email from SPS, the following school districts will also close through Friday, April 3:

Springfield, Ash Grove, Fair Grove, Fordland, Logan-Rogersville, Marshfield, Nixa, Ozark, Republic, Sparta, Strafford, and Willard. 

No one is allowed to hold events with more than 50 people in Greene County for at least the next 30 days.  The Greene County Commission held an emergency session Monday to vote on a Declaration of State of Emergency due to Coronavirus.  Those in violation of the mandate could face misdemeanor charges.  The decision was made to prevent the spread of the virus, which causes the illness, COVID-19.  Educational institutions, daycare facilities and business operations are exempt. 

The vote came after a third case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Greene County.

The coronavirus outbreak is especially dangerous for senior citizens and those with weakened immune systems. One option for when senior citizens run low on food is to turn to senior centers.

Springfield City Council voted unanimously Monday to pass an emergency ordinance prohibiting public gatherings of 50 or more people, with some exceptions, while the community responds to the outbreak of COVID-19.

The penalty for violating the new ordinance is up to a $1,000 fine or up to 180 days in jail for those convicted in municipal court, according to City Attorney Rhonda Lewsader.

Educational institutions,  daycare facilities and businesses in the corporate limits of the city of Springfield—including restaurants and bars—are exempt from the prohibition for now.

A person who had traveled domestically is the third case of COVID-19 in Greene County.  The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is not providing any additional information to protect the patient’s privacy.

Health officials are working to identify anyone who might have had contact with the patient and will notify them.  The health department will provide guidance to those individuals and monitor them closely for the development of symptoms.

Greene County Seniors Helping Seniors

Mar 16, 2020

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

Today’s discussion explores the Senior Peer Support program.  The volunteer program combines senior volunteers and many local agencies to address depression, mental health and isolation experienced by many as they grow older.

 

Update:  The Springfield Police Department said Christopher Walsh is a Springfield native who graduated from Glendale High School before attending Ozarks Technical Community College.  He served with the Springfield Police Dept. since 2016 and was assigned as a patrol officer after graduating with the 68th Academy.  He’s also an Army veteran who was active in the U.S. Army Reserves for 10 years.  He’s survived by a wife and daughter. 

Update:  Springfield-Greene County Libraries are closed.

Original Story:  So far, Springfield-Greene County Library branches are open amid concerns about the coronavirus.  But the district is implementing changes.  The library is extending Wi-Fi access 24/7 to parking lots at all branches where possible.

CoxHealth is offering free Virtual Visits to anyone in southwest Missouri who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

According to CoxHealth, to be evaluated, individuals should use code COVID when beginning a Virtual Visit. This service is available to anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, which include a fever, cough and respiratory distress. Patients at risk may also have traveled to areas with widespread disease. If a provider feels a patient should be tested, he or she will make a referral, according to a CoxHealth news release.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson recommends following new Centers for Disease Control guidelines for large events and mass gatherings.  The CDC recommended Sunday that for the next eight weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 or more people, with the exception of educational institutions, daycare facilities and business operations.  According to the CDC, events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting 

Springfield hospitals are implementing new restrictions to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Mercy Springfield will expand visitor restrictions beginning at 8 a.m. Sunday, March 15, according to a news release from the health system.  Facilities affected include: 

There’s a second presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Greene County.  The Springfield-Greene County Health Department said Saturday the person had traveled recently but didn’t give any other details.

The Health Department said it is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to identify anyone who was possibly exposed.  Those individuals will be given guidance and monitored closely for symptoms. 

Local film production company Passive Aggressive Films has begun a Kickstarter campaign to help them raise funds to produce "Eldrich, USA," "an energetic feature-length horror/comedy/musical film about sibling rivalry, a backwoods cult, and the lengths we'll go to in order to right a wrong.” The man behind Passive Aggressive Films, Ryan Smith, will produce and direct the new film.                                                       

Local non-profit theatre production company Actors Theatre of Missouri has announced they have postponed their upcoming production of the play "Museum," originally scheduled for March 26-29 at the Springfield Art Museum.  According to the organization's Facebook page, "We're working out all the new details and will update this event as soon as possible. To those who already purchased tickets: We hope you will be able to attend our rescheduled dates, but if not, refunds are available by contacting Brown Paper Tickets. Please have your order confirmation number handy.

UPDATE Saturday, March 14:  One of the two "presumptive positive" cases of COVID-19 announced by the governor Friday is in Clinton, Missouri. The Henry County Health Center has posted a statement to its website that includes the following:

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