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City leaders discuss plan to battle surge of Covid-19 cases

A group of city leaders, health experts and staff met Wednesday afternoon to strategize how to get more people vaccinated before the Delta variant rips through St. Joseph the way it did Springfield, Mo.

Posted: Jul 15, 2021 10:36 AM
Updated: Jul 15, 2021 10:50 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) City leaders calling our Covid-19 situation worrying.

St. Joseph council members and staff are moving forward with a plan to save off a potential crisis.

A group of city leaders, health experts and staff met Wednesday afternoon to strategize how to get more people vaccinated before the Delta variant rips through St. Joseph the way it did Springfield, Mo.

City leaders met to work out how best to move forward and marshall resources as the battle against Covid-19 escalates.

"Friends that I have who are adamantly against masks and adamantly against vaccines are contracting COVID and it's putting a hammer to them,” City Councilmember Kent O'Dell said.

St. Joseph city leaders are zeroing in on how to stop the current Covid trend before any more people get sick, or worse, die.

"It's a battle and we are never going to get out of this until everyone contributes and does something about this,” O’Dell said.

186 Buchanan County residents already lost their lives to Covid-19.

Mosaic's lead doctor called to tell leaders that another three were lost this week.

"Most of the people, the 51 people in the hospital, were not vaccinated and one of the doctors told me a story of a gentleman who had a double lung transplant. Who said he survived, thank god. Who said afterwards I wish I had got vaccinated,” St. Joseph Mayor Bill McMurray said.

City leaders are concerned things are going south.

The Springfield area is barely holding on as the Delta variant and low vaccination rates cripple interventions.

"We don't want these numbers to turn us into another Springfield where we fill up the hospital and send people to Kansas City and St. Louis if we even have beds available there,” McMurray said.

St. Joseph suffers from the same issues that brought southwest Missouri to its knees.

On Wednesday, the city council, staff and health experts say we are going to have to vaccinate ourselves out of this.

"We are in a very serious position right now. This is no time for an ideological debate. The science is on the side of the vaccine,” McMurray said.

Right now about one in five county residents have at least one shot.

To convince the other 80 percent, the health department is holding clinics at businesses and organizations.

"We intend to do as many as we can to get as many people vaccinated as we possibly can,” St. Joseph Health Dept. Director Debra Bradley said.

Some of the biggest players in town, Mosaic, the city and school district, promising to ramp up outreach to employees and families.
"We were contacted by the St. Joseph School district asking if we would partner with them in providing vaccine at the back-to-school nights,” Bradley said.

The city is also planning an advertising blitz to fight back against the myths running rampant on social media.

"There's so much misinformation that people are passing around that is totally invalid and it's not the truth and it's not science and it's not medicine,” O'Dell said.

With those battle orders, the meeting ends and the vaccination blitz begins.

"Let's get this thing taken care of before more people die,” McMurray said.

If you have concerns or want to talk about whether getting the vaccine is right for you, experts say call your healthcare provider, primary care doctor or nurse to get advice.

For information on how to schedule a Covid-19 vaccine through Mosaic Life Care, CLICK HERE.

For a list of information about the vaccines provided by the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services, CLICK HERE.

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Temperatures today will remain slightly above average with highs in the mid 80s. Most of today will be dry and sunny, but a weak cold front will move through late this afternoon into this evening giving us the chance for a few isolated showers and storms. Conditions will stay comfortable this weekend with highs in the mid 80s on Saturday and upper 80s on Sunday. Temperatures will start off above average on Monday before a cold front moves through. That front will give us additional rain chances Monday night and some much more fall like temperatures through the rest of the week.
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