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Springfield-Greene County Health Department still encouraging masking, Drury bans neck gaiters – KY3

https://www.ky3.com/2020/08/13/springfield-greene-county-health-department-still-encouraging-masking-drury-bans-neck-gaiters/

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Another one-day record for coronavirus cases in Greene County. 95 new positive test results came back Tuesday. That sends the county’s total case number to more than 1,700.

The number of new positive tests Tuesday is the highest one-day case count since Springfield implemented a mask ordinance nearly four weeks ago. The health department said they’re sadly not surprised. They’re still investigating to find trends with the latest cases, but still believe masking is working.

“It’s never a straight line. We would love to see a straight line where the cases just drop off but that unfortunately isn’t how it works,” said Kathryn Wall, with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

Wall said, even though the case count is up, masking can still limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“We know that it’s awkward and uncomfortable, but we know it’s something that’s working and is effective,” she said.

However, Wall said, masking alone is not enough. Remember to stay six-feet apart, wash your hands often and stay home if you’re sick.

“It’s not the silver bullet, it is not the one thing that takes care of COVID. We would love if that were the case, but there are those other prevention measures that we all need to take seriously,” she said.

Drury University’s David Hinson said masks have been required on campus since early summer, long before Springfield ever implemented a mandate. That won’t change when classes start later this month.

“If you are in a classroom, if you are in an academic building, masks are required. In the dorms, if you are unable to have six feet, physical distancing, you need to wear a mask in your dorms,” Hinson said.

There’s one type of face covering Drury will not accept. A recent study from Duke University says the “neck gaiter” might be worse than wearing no mask at all.

“The masks are made of stretchy material that breaks the particles into smaller pieces that remain airborne longer. So it actually increases the probability of disease,” he said.

Wall said the one study is not enough for the health department to change its guidelines, but does support Springfield colleges taking every precaution possible to prevent coronavirus outbreaks on campus.

“You can feel a lot of confidence in knowing all the folks in this mix are there to keep their students as healthy and as safe as possible,” she said.

College students from all over the country will to Springfield in the next few weeks, but Wall said the health department has been working closely with every university to make re-entry plans.

Health officials will hold a virtual briefing Thursday at 10 a.m. to discuss how to prevent coronavirus on area campuses this fall. That will be live streamed on the KY3 Facebook page.

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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