Joplin City Council passed three emergency ordinances to assist in projects at the Joplin Regional Airport. The first approves phase two of project one for the reconstruction of part of the airport’s runway and replacement of some runway lights. The second two approve the extension of a Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) grant for Joplin Regional Airport advertising purposes from 2020 and approve a new grant agreement from MoDOT for advertising purposes.
All three of these emergency ordinances passed with nine in favor. The reason why Council Bill 2021-101, the bill to approve the airport’s grant extension, was presented was because the airport was not able to use all the grant money in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Joplin Health Department director Ryan Talken presented a health department update, primarily discussing COVID-19 in the city and the vaccine. Talken reported that the COVID-19 numbers in Joplin have been “on the downward trend” and that as of Tuesday, January 19 there are now about 24 cases per day on average. He said that hospitalization numbers have “improved,” but that residents should not take that as a “false sense of security,” saying that “COVID is still out there” and that everyone needs to continue doing their part. By taking the same necessary precautions as usual, like washing hands, wearing masks, and following social distancing protocol, Talken said that is how the numbers should stay down.
Regarding the COVID-19 vaccine in Joplin, Talken said it “remains in short supply” in not just the city but also the entire state of Missouri. He said that currently the demand for the vaccine “exceeds supply.” The Joplin Health Department still has yet to receive any vaccines, though they are in the final stages of putting together a coalition vaccine site. This site will provide a map that shows all the sites where Missouri residents can get their COVID-19 vaccines once these locations receive their shipments. Talken also reported that as vaccine shipments arrive, the coalition partners that the health department is working with will host community vaccine clinics.
As of last week, the Missouri governor announced that the state would move from Phase 1A to Phase 1B in the vaccine distribution plan. As of Monday, January 18, Missouri residents in 1B Tier 1 and Tier 2 are eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. Talken explained further that Joplin does have “limited vaccine” and that currently the hospitals are the only locations with that “limited supply.” He said that they will put out press releases of where residents can get their vaccines once more become available. Talken said “the City of Joplin is prepared” to receive more vaccines, following whatever may happen after the change of administration with Inauguration Day.
Leslie Haas, City of Joplin finance director, discussed the possible future needs and resources the city may need due to COVID-19. The governor has extended the county CARES Funds until June 30, 2021, and Haas presented that Newton County has allocated their total CARES allotment but that Jasper County has not. The COVID-19 funding sources possible in the new year include Jasper County CARES, COAG, ELC, PHEP, FEMA
Lynn Onstst, City of Joplin Public Information Officer, presented that Joplin will host a COVID-19 community testing site Friday, January 22 at Access Family Care from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Residents must register online to be tested.
Council passed three additional ordinances on an emergency basis, each passing with nine in favor. These included ordinances regarding the city’s I&I project previously discussed at council, adjustments to the city’s annual budget, and amending property on the 32nd Street Place Community Improvement District.
Three ordinances passed, each with nine in favor, under first reading and advanced to second and third readings. One of these ordinances regarded switching trash services to Waste Corporation of Missouri LLC (WCA) for only city buildings and facilities—this does not affect citywide curbside trash and recycling pickup.