Greene County issues emergency declaration

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The Greene County Commission voted unanimously yesterday to approve a declaration of local emergency in an effort to expedite local health officials' request for funding from the state.

The declaration opens additional channels for the directors of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department and Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management to obtain equipment and supplies needed for the health and welfare of local residents, according to a news release. The departments earlier this month issued a request to the state for funds for an alternative care site for COVID-19 patients.

“COVID-19 continues to hit our community hard, and I want to commend the ongoing efforts by our hospitals and health care workers, health department, emergency management and the support we are receiving at the state level to respond to this crisis,” Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon said in the release. “The Greene County Commission wants to continue to be a partner in these efforts and this declaration is one way we can do that.”

The declaration went into effect yesterday and lasts until rescinded.

Local requests for assistance from the state come amid rising COVID-19 case counts.

As of this morning, the seven-day average for coronavirus cases in Greene County is 224.3, with 263 people hospitalized, according to the Health Department's COVID-19 dashboard. The percentage of the eligible population that's fully vaccinated is nearly 41%, a slight increase from a week ago when the alternative care site funding request was made.

In an attempt to increase vaccination rates statewide, Gov. Mike Parson yesterday announced a plan to offer incentives for people to get vaccinated. The state is issuing 900 prizes worth $10,000 through a lottery system.

Statewide, 40.5% of the eligible population is currently fully vaccinated, according to Missouri’s COVID-19 dashboard.