Joplin city leaders urge public to take virus seriously

Joplin Area Coronavirus

JOPLIN, Mo. — Now that Joplin has its first covid-19 case, city leaders are urging the public to take this seriously.

KSN’s Stuart Price also spoke with city police–squashing rumors about a rise in crime.

Joplin city leaders alongside health professionals holding a joint press conference today.

Mayor Gary Shaw urging the public to take the CDC’s advice seriously.

Gary Shaw, Mayor of Joplin, said, “Well we have our first case, it’s here, so now is the time to be serious about what we do so my goodness, if you don’t have to be out, don’t be out.”

Police Chief Sloan Rowland also spoke, dispelling rumors concerning crime and the number of officers on the streets.

Sloan Rowland, Joplin Police Chief, said, “Crime is actually down since the 15th so we’re not seeing that at all, the second thing is that there are reduced police officers on the street because of this, that’s also not true, you need to know we’ve actually shifted personnel so if anything you’re seeing more officers on the street, more officers in the neighborhood.”

Health Department Director Dan Pekarek says his department is still trying to figure out how the city’s one presumptive positive covid case contracted the illness.

Right now, the Health Department is in the midst of a process called contact tracing.

That means calling anyone who came into contact with the infected resident.

This type of probe will become harder to do in the future if and when cases increase.

And once diagnosed, he says the infected are on the honor system.

Dan Pekarek, Joplin Health Department Director, said, “At some point that will become very challenging for us, obviously we are not a department that has a lot of staff so the ability for us to do contact tracing when we have an increasing number of cases will be increasingly challenging and that’s when we have to rely even more and more on the individuals to do what they’re told to do.”

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