Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Galena Days 2020 canceled

(From the Galena Volunteer Fire Department)

We have never cancelled this event before, but like every other aspect of our lives right now, we're writing the playbook as we go.

Stay Smart, Stay Safe, Stay Healthy.

Parson, state officials offer COVID-19 update

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

In today’s press briefing, Governor Mike Parson provided updates on efforts by the Missouri National Guard, Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED), Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC), and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to assist with the state’s COVID-19 response.

Governor Parson was joined by Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Director Dr. Randall Williams (pictured), DED Director Rob Dixon, DOC Director Anne Precythe, and DNR Director Carol Comer.

Missouri National Guard Assists with Efforts to Identify Potential Alternate Care Sites

Since Governor Parson’s signing of Executive Order 20-06 last week, the Missouri National Guard has been working as part of the state’s effort to identify potential alternate care sites, if needed, around Missouri.

Along with the Guard, the agencies involved in these site surveys are DHSS, the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), the Missouri Office of Administration, the Missouri Hospital Association, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

While nothing has been confirmed, several possible sites have been assessed, including:

-Hy-Vee Arena (formerly Kemper Arena) and Silverstein Eye Centers Arena (formerly Independence Event Center) in Kansas City
-The Dome at America's Center (formerly the Edward Jones Dome) in St. Louis
-Hammons Student Center and JQH Arena in Springfield,
-Missouri Southern State University Leggett and Platt Arena in Joplin
-The Show-Me Center in Cape Girardeau
-Hearnes Arena in Columbia

Two other possible sites are being assessed in Kansas City today.

Three main selection criteria are being considered for these sites: 

-Located in areas with deficient bed counts,
-Areas with spaces large enough for patient populations, and
-Areas where utilities are available to start immediate construction if necessary.

Department of Economic Development and Missouri Businesses Answer Call to Help During COVID-19 Crisis DED has been actively reaching out to business leaders across the state to see how they can assist during this challenging time.

Last week, DED, SEMA, DHSS, and the Office of Administration partnered with the Cole County Commission and Missouri Association of Councils of Government to purchase 125 ventilators with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. $2.8 million in CDBG funding will be used for the purchase and distribution of the ventilators.

Several Missouri companies have also responded to the call to help procure or produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health care workers:

-Barry Orscheln, CEO of Orscheln Farm and Home supply stores headquartered in Moberly, has activated his supplier networks and relationships and is now working with Carhartt to produce gowns and surgical masks.

-K&K Supply, a construction equipment supplier based in Fenton, who is working with SEMA for the procurement of N95 masks.
-Grainger Industrial Supply in Kansas City, who is working with SEMA for the procurement of medical shoe covers.
-National Material Supply Co., an industrial and commercial supply distributor based in St. Louis.
-Trabon Group, a Kansas City printing company, is now producing face shields for hospitals in the Kansas City area.

In addition to these employers, there are a number of breweries and distilleries that have shifted production or provided materials to produce hand sanitizer for health care workers, nursing homes, first responders and non profits:

J. Rieger & Co., a distillery in Kansas City in partnership with Blade and Timber Ax Throwing
Restless Spirits, a distillery in North Kansas City
4 Hands Brewing company in St. Louis
Switchgrass distillery in Wellston in partnership with Bee Naturals
Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis

DED is continuing to work with manufacturers to procure and produce additional PPE and other medical equipment.

Missouri State Parks Modifies Operations to Address Overcrowding

Out of an abundance of caution and in response to recent events, Missouri State Parks will modify operations at five state parks to address overcrowding and concerns regarding COVID-19 and public safety. The modifications, including the temporary closure of four of Missouri’s state parks and partial closure of one additional park, will take effect at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 2 and are scheduled to continue until April 30.

The new measures will further implement the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The operation modifications include the following:

-Castlewood State Park will close
-Elephant Rocks State Park will close
-Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site and Park will close
-Weston Bend State Park will close
-St. Joe State Park will close the off-road vehicle riding area
-Gates to individual parking lots may close at all state parks when the lot reaches capacity

DNR and the Missouri State Parks team are closely monitoring the progression of COVID-19 and its effects in Missouri. While safety, stewardship and service are all very important to Missouri State Parks, safety remains the top priority.

Department of Corrections Works to Prevent Spread of COVID-19

DOC is working to keep COVID-19 of prisons and are prepared to contain it should it come in. 

Preparation for communicable diseases is not new for DOC – the Department has always had plans and procedures in place and has enhanced them for COVID-19. 

Suspended offender visits March 12
Suspended offender transfers among facilities
Screening all offenders on intake
Screening all staff and others entering a facility
Strict sanitation schedule and guidelines at every prison
Ample cleaning supplies at every prison
Around-the-clock on-site medical care at every prison
Isolation cells, wings and units identified for use, if needed, at every prison

Missouri Vocational Enterprises, which operates 22 industries inside state prisons, has also modified operations to help communities during the COVID-19 crisis:

-Producing hand sanitizer at the chemical plant in Bonne Terree – started Friday and will have 6,800 gallons ready for distribution by the end of the week
-Ramped up toilet paper production at the factory in Cameron with 600-800 additional cases each week – now producing 3,500 cases (336,000 rolls) every week
-Clothing factory at Jefferson City Correctional Center is making 4,000 protective gowns requested by the Missouri Veterans Commission

Currently, there are no cases of COVID-19 inside any Missouri Department of Corrections facility. One offender who already was hospitalized tested positive for COVID-19. He has since tested negative for the virus twice but remains hospitalized while being treated for other medical conditions.

Eighteen offenders have been tested. Four of these tests are pending, and 13 have been negative. Only one was positive but is now negative. Two non-prison staff have tested positive. Neither works in a correctional center.

Roy Blunt provides answers about who will receive money from relief bill

(From Sen. Roy Blunt, R-MO)

Last week, my colleagues in the Senate and I unanimously passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. President Trump quickly signed it into law.

The CARES Act built upon the efforts of phases 1 and 2 of Congress’s response to the pandemic, bringing needed relief to families, workers, and small business owners and their employees who have been impacted.

This legislation will provide direct assistance to Missouri families and individuals who need it most.

Here are frequently asked questions about the recovery payments:

* Please note the information below has been prepared by Republican Finance Committee staff for informational purposes and should not be relied on for legal advice.

Individuals should consult the IRS or a tax advisor to address questions related to their individual circumstances. IRS has compiled these FAQs for guidance on recovery payments. *

Q: Who is eligible for a recovery rebate?

A: All U.S. residents or citizens with adjusted gross income under $75,000 ($112,500 for head of household and $150,000 married) who are not the dependent of another taxpayer and have a work-eligible Social Security Number, are eligible for the full $1,200 ($2,400 married) rebate. They are also eligible for an additional $500 per child. A typical middle-class family of four would receive $3,400 to help them meet their daily expenses.

Q: What about taxpayers with adjusted gross income over $75,000 ($112,500 for head of household and $150,000 married)? Are they eligible to receive any rebate?

A: The rebate amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 that a taxpayer’s income exceeds the phase-out threshold. The amount is completely phased-out for single filers with incomes exceeding $99,000; $146,500 for head of household filers with one child; and $198,000 for joint filers with no children. For a typical family of four, the amount is completely phased out for those with adjusted gross incomes exceeding $218,000.

Q: What if my income was above the threshold in 2019, but I’ve lost my job due to the corona virus? Can I still get a rebate check?

A: If your income in 2019 was in the phase-out range, you would still receive a partial rebate based on your 2019 tax return. However, the rebate is actually an advance on a tax credit that you may claim on your 2020 tax return. If your income is lower in 2020 than in 2019, any additional credit you are eligible for will be refunded or reduce your tax liability when you file your 2020 tax return next year.

Q: Is the rebate taxable or will I have to pay back any amount if the rebate based on my 2019 return is larger than what it would be if based on my 2020 tax year return?

A: No, the rebate is treated like other refundable tax credits, such as the child tax credit and earned income tax credit, and not considered income. If the credit amount you qualify based on 2020 income is less than what you qualify for based on your 2019 tax return, it does not have to be paid back.

Q: Who qualifies as a child for purposes of the rebate?

A: Any child who is a qualifying child for the purposes of the Child Tax Credit is also a qualifying child for the purposes of the recovery rebate. In general, a child is any dependent of a taxpayer under the age of 17.

Q: Do dependents, other than children under 17, qualify a taxpayer for an additional $500 per dependent?

A: No, the additional $500 per child is limited to children under 17.

Q: Are individuals with little to no income or those on means-tested federal benefits, such as SSI, eligible for a recovery rebate?

A: Yes, there is no qualifying income requirement. Even individuals with $0 of income are eligible for a rebate so long as they are not the dependent of another taxpayer and have a work-eligible SSN.

Q: Are seniors whose only income is from Social Security or a veteran whose only income is a veterans’ disability payment eligible?

A: Yes, as long as they are not the dependent of another taxpayer. The bill also provides IRS with additional tools to locate and provide rebates to low-income seniors who normally do not file a tax return by allowing them to base a rebate on Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement or Form RRB-1099, which is the equivalent of the Social Security statement for Railroad Employees. However, seniors are still encouraged to file their 2019 tax return to ensure they receive their recovery rebate as quickly as possible.

Q: Are college students eligible for a recovery rebate?

A: Only if they are not considered a dependent of their parents. Generally, a full-time college student under the age of 24 is considered a dependent if their parent(s) provide more than half of their support.

Q: I am eligible for a rebate, what do I have to do to receive it?

A: For the vast majority of Americans, no action on their part will be required to receive a rebate check since the IRS will use a taxpayer’s 2019 tax return if filed or their 2018 return if they haven’t filed their 2019 return. This includes many individuals with very low income who file a tax return despite not owing any tax in order to take advantage of the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

Q: What should I do if I did not file a tax return for 2019 or 2018?

A: The best way to ensure you receive a recovery rebate is to file a 2019 tax return if you have not already done so. This could be accomplished for free online from home using the IRS Free File program. The bill also instructs the IRS to engage in a public campaign to alert all individuals of their eligibility for the rebate and how to receive it if they have not filed either a 2019 or 2018 tax return.

Q: If I have a past due debt to a federal or state agency, or owe back taxes, will my rebate be reduced?

A: No, the bill turns off nearly all administrative offsets that ordinarily may reduce tax refunds for individuals who have past tax debts, or who are behind on other payments to federal or state governments, including student loan payments. The only administrative offset that will be enforced applies to those who have past due child support payments that the states have reported to the Treasury Department.

Dade County declares state of emergency due to COVID-19

(From the Dade County Health Department)

New Dade County Health Ordinance beginning April 1st at 8am and lasting until 11:59pm on April 24th.

Most of these orders have already been in place but now will be enforced. 

This is NOT a Stay at home order. We hope this can help keep everyone in our community safe and we appreciate all of your support!!

Violators of social distancing rules in Carthage parks to be charged with trespassing, prosecuted

(From the City of Carthage)

On 03/31/2020 Mayor Dan Rife issued an Executive Order that applied to the entire City of Carthage. This order was issued in response to numerous complaints received by the city regarding large gatherings in city parks that were failing to adhere to CDC recommendations.

This order is intended to reinforce compliance with the guidelines set forth by the Federal, State and City government to stop the spread of COVID-19.

This order demands that all public gatherings on public property, such as city parks, of more than ten people are prohibited.

Groups less than ten are allowed, but must participate in activities in which they can maintain the appropriate distance of 6 feet away from one another.

Anyone using city parks or public areas in a prohibited fashion shall be deemed by the city as trespassing. We encourage our citizens to adhere to this order and take personal responsibility.

Please help keep our community stay safe.


WHEREAS, on March 19, 2020, I signed Emergency Resolution 1897 and the Council Passed and I signed Ordinance #20-08 declaring a state of emergency in response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus; and 

WHEREAS, COVID-19 poses a serious health risk for Missouri residents and visitors; and 

WHEREAS, COVID-19 can result in mild or severe symptoms, is highly contagious, and is spread through close contact between persons and respiratory transmission; and 

WHEREAS, COVID-19 poses a serious health risk for Carthage and Missouri residents and visitors; and WHEREAS, the President of the United States and the Governor of the State of Missouri have declared a state of emergency; and 

WHEREAS, Jasper County has confirmed numerous cases of COVID-19; and 

WHEREAS, the spread of COVID-19 and identification of additional cases in Missouri is likely to continue, and steps should be taken to prevent a substantial risk to public health and safety; and 

WHEREAS, to date, the emergency personnel of the City of Carthage have and continue to respond to violations of the President’s and Governor’s recommendation for gatherings and social distancing; and 

WHEREAS, section 44, RSMo, authorizes the City to suspend operations during time of emergency and the City Council and the Charter of the city of Carthage grants authority to the mayor to suspend operations within the City, 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Dan Rife, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF CARTHAGE, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the City Charter, City Council and the Laws of the State of Missouri, I hereby order that the following activities are prohibited on public property and in the public parks owned by the city: 

All places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to, locations with amusement rides, roller skating rinks, children's play centers, playgrounds, and golf courses (with the narrow exceptions of playing golf where there is no shared equipment by the participants and driving ranges where Social Distancing Requirements of 6 feet are strictly followed and enforced). 

All public gatherings on public property of more than ten (10) people are prohibited. An exception shall exist for public parks and trails, so long as patrons remain 6 feet apart and where no shared equipment is utilized by the patrons. 

All public areas addressed in this order are closed except for the above permitted purposes. 

Anyone using the public areas in a prohibited fashion shall be deemed by the city as trespassing. A violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a crime punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. 

In addition to the criminal enforcement authority of the Prosecuting Attorney, the City Counselor is delegated the authority to take appropriate actions with respect to any person or business that has failed to comply or attempted to fail to comply with this Order. 

This order shall terminate on May 15, 2020, unless extended in whole or in part.

Basketball courts closed at Joplin city parks

(From the City of Joplin)

Due to the number of people gathering/playing on the basketball courts, and not following the CDC's safe social distancing guidelines, we have closed the basketball courts.

Parks and trails remain open. Please be considerate and remember to keep a minimum of 6 feet between you and other people when out walking, hiking, jogging or biking.

Watch live- White House COVID-19 briefing

Greene County COVID-19 death toll rises to six

(From the Springfield-Greene County Health Department)

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is heartbroken to announce the death of two Greene County residents from COVID-19.

One loss, a man in his 90s, was a positive case from the Morningside of Springfield East assisted living facility.

The second was a man in his 80s who was immunocompromised. He was a contact of a person who was an international traveler. This makes six deaths from COVID-19 in Greene County. 

The staff at Morningside have been actively working with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. 

A total of eight residents have tested positive in Morningside. 

For more information about COVID-19, visit our website at health.springfieldmo.gov/coronavirus, email coronavirus@springfieldmo.gov, or call 417-874-1211.

Paul Richardson: A scavenger hunt of sorts

It was shortly after the good wife and I met that I discovered that she did not know how to drive a vehicle with a standard transmission.

Being in a state of extreme infatuation, I didn’t do the smart thing and just let that condition ride, I instead taught her how to drive just such a vehicle. 

I had a ’69 Datsun 1600 Roadster and this was the car that provided the classroom. The lessons were successful, as being infatuated I was a very calm instructor. However, little did I realize the negative impact this would have on my life.

Sometime later we stopped by a local grocery store to pick up some necessary items. I went in to make the purchases and she remained in the car. Yes, it was my car, the one in which she had taken the lessons. 

When I returned to the parking lot, the car was nowhere in sight. 

I began to wander the lot, hoping to find it carefully tucked away in some little hiding spot between two much larger vehicles, as this car was quite small. 

Shortly into my wandering the car came zipping across the lot, top down, her hair blowing in the wind and maniacal laughter exploding for the driver’s seat. 

At this point I was getting a little testy. Not only had she stolen my car, she had forced me to wander around a rather large parking lot, in public, carrying an item that was the catalyst of my greatest phobia.

The main purchase recently made was a large package of toilet paper. Yes, toilet paper which if it had been possible at that time before the internet, I would have purchased anonymously and had delivered in unmarked brown packaging to my home. Unbeknownst to me this would get worse.

While I didn’t go to an angry area, my comments were probably sarcastic and she was a strong-willed, hard-headed, little Irish filly, who promptly drove off in my car, shouting, “See you at the house!”

There I stood, two miles from home, holding a package that might have well had a sign on it that read, “Guess what I am going to do with this!” So, for the next thirty minutes I paced as quickly as possible through town, through traffic, through public areas, carrying my burden. I wasn’t going to abandon it, as it was needed at the house.

I have suppressed my anxiety over toilet paper. The good wife and I keep an ample supply, so the current trends have not impacted our lifestyle at all. The community’s response to the current situation has created a scavenger hunt for many items. We discovered this on our recent shopping trip to re-supply our normal pantry inventory. Discovering people buying everything in quantity. Maybe their plan is to eat more in order to ward off the virus. They may need that toilet paper after all!

Hope this lightened up your day, it will get worse when she drives off in your car!
(Paul Richardson's column, The Horse I Rode In On is published weekly in the Neosho Daily News, Seneca News-Dispatch, Aurora Advertiser and on the Turner Report.)

Six more COVID-19 deaths reported in Oklahoma

(From the Oklahoma State Department of Health)

As of this advisory, there are 565 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma.

There are an additional six deaths:

Three in Oklahoma County, a male and female in the 50-64 age group and another male older than 65.

One in Canadian County, a male older than 65.

One in Muskogee County, a male older than 65.

One in Wagoner County, a male older than 65.

There are 23 total deaths in the state.

By the end of Monday, the state received more than 60 percent of its personal protective equipment (PPE) order from the federal government's Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), and the state expects to be at 100 percent in the next couple days. The order included the following items: gloves, gowns, face/eye protection, N95, and surgical masks.

On Sunday, officials moved 700 cases of PPE to regional warehouses located on the front lines of resupplying medical system providers

Due to a continued national shortage, the state will reserve SNS for hospitals which have 1) ICU beds and 2) have persons under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 or patients with a positive test.
Due to a multi-million dollar order the state placed on the private market, officials anticipate larger shipments of PPE, to include additional N95 masks, in the next week.

REMINDER: Governor Stitt’s “Safer at Home” order includes the following guidelines for all 77 counties until April 30:

-No gatherings in groups larger than 10 people.
-People age 65 or older or those with a compromised immune system must shelter at home.

PLEASE NOTE: Some local municipalities, to include Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Norman, have put into place law enforcement efforts to enforce the Governor’s order as well as the cities’ additional “shelter in place” policies.

On both statewide and municipal levels, individuals can still leave for essential errands such as to grocery stores or pharmacies. Please call 2-1-1 or visit covidresources.ok.gov for resources and information.

For more information, visit coronavirus.health.ok.gov.

Springfield laboratory expands COVID-19 testing options for regional facilities

(From the Springfield-Greene County Health Department)

Beginning Wednesday, April 1, Dynamic DNA Laboratories will offer an additional option for local provider-referred testing of COVID-19. Testing capacity has been limited locally, statewide and nationally.

Although testing will still be for those referred by a provider, the additional testing capacity offered by Dynamic DNA Laboratories will allow more people to be tested in our community, and also faster. Dynamic DNA expects test results to be available as early as the same day.

"We want to utilize our equipment and expertise to help, because we can,” said Dynamic DNA Laboratories founder and CEO Austin O’Reilly. “It’s our duty to step up, help identify positive cases and reduce further spread. We can provide this service very quickly, and at high capacity."

The additional testing may serve patients from Citizens Memorial Hospital, CoxHealth, Jordan Valley Community Health Center and Mercy. Dynamic DNA is distributing 4,000 available test kits and plans to begin running tests on Wednesday. An additional 4,000 test kits have already been ordered as well.

In partnership with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, Dynamic DNA received funding through the Missouri Foundation for Health to assist in the validation of the SARS-CoV-2 Test. Per clinical testing requirements, an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) will be submitted to the FDA for approval.

For more information about coronavirus and the associated illness COVID-19, visit our website at health.springfieldmo.gov/coronavirus, email coronavirus@springfieldmo.gov, or call 417-874-1211.

Lessons learned during 2007 ice storm can help during shelter-in-place

(From University of Missouri Extension)

If experience is a great teacher, then the 2007 ice storm that hit southwest Missouri taught us some valuable lessons. The storm left many families stranded indoors for a week or more without electricity and other modern conveniences.

“I learned a few things from our isolation during the 2007 ice storm,” said David Burton, county engagement specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “During the ice storm, I had a hard time seeing anything good coming out of it. I had trouble seeing past the next day for a while.”

The stress of the ice storm caused people not to sleep well, become angry, and feel both isolated and lonely. This caused families to discover things they could do to help reduce their stress. “But as I learned, humans enjoy change that we control and resist change that we do not control. Any loss or uncertainty creates stress in our lives," said Burton.

Some lessons learned then can be applied to the current COVID19 social distancing and shelter-in-place policies.

First, focus on what is important to your family. “All of this togetherness is a good time to reconnect. For us that met board games every night and reading books out loud by candlelight. Those are still special memories for our children,” said Burton.

Second, keep a sense of humor. It is possible to find something funny amid the challenges. “For over a week, I slept under three blankets with a stocking cap on and gloves. That story gets retold over and over by my kids now,” said Burton.

Third, invest in your health. “Establish a daily routine, eat healthy, get enough sleep, and find a way to exercise. That may just mean walking around your house or up and down your stairs like it did for me in 2007, but it could also mean walks outdoors,” said Burton

Fourth, focus on the good to develop a positive attitude. “There is always hope. If there is something you are viewing or consuming a lot of that creates drama or anxiety in your life, this is a great time to reduce it,” said Burton.

Fifth, being at home may be the perfect time to invest in yourself with education. Specialists with MU Extension office are offering several online classes. Right now, it is possible to take our food preservation online and to learn to deal with stress in our “Taking Care of You” class.

Burton is helping teach a class on the “21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader” starting April 6. This free online class has 21 sessions of 30 minutes and is a chance to learn more about yourself and the qualities needed to be an effective leader.

More information on dealing with stress or CoVid19 can be found online along with registration pages for all of these classes at http://extension.missouri.edu.

First COVID-19 case reported in Labette County

(From the Labette County Health Department)

Labette County officials have confirmed the first positive coronavirus case.

The person has been identified as a 61-year-old male that is recovering. To protect the patient's right to privacy, identifying information will not be provided.

As part of the regular practice of disease investigation, the Labette County Health Department is working to identify and contact people who may have come into contact with the individual while they were infectious and will monitor them for symptoms.

Labette County Health Department continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak and is working with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, as well as other Labette County agencies to manage the situation.

Walmart to check employees' temperatures each day when they report to work

(From Walmart)

By John Furner, President & CEO, Walmart U.S. and Kath McLay, President & CEO, Sam’s Club

As our company and country continue to deal with the spread of COVID-19, we remain focused on the health and safety of our associates.

We continue to follow and communicate the CDC’s recommended guidance on behaviors like washing hands, social distancing and the cleaning of surfaces. And we have made significant operational changes in our stores, clubs, DCs and FCs this month – such as closing overnight for cleaning, starting to install sneeze guards at checkout and pharmacies, using wipes and sprayers for carts, putting in signing for social distancing and implementing a COVID-19 emergency leave policy.

Today we’re sharing additional steps we’re taking to promote a safe and healthy workplace.

Temperature Checks

As the COVID-19 situation has evolved, we’ve decided to begin taking the temperatures of our associates as they report to work in stores, clubs and facilities, as well as asking them some basic health screening questions. We are in the process of sending infrared thermometers to all locations, which could take up to three weeks.

Any associate with a temperature of 100.0 degrees will be paid for reporting to work and asked to return home and seek medical treatment if necessary. The associate will not be able to return to work until they are fever-free for at least three days.

Many associates have already been taking their own temperatures at home, and we’re asking them to continue that practice as we start doing it on-site. And we’ll continue to ask associates to look out for other symptoms of the virus (coughing, feeling achy, difficulty breathing) and never come to work when they don’t feel well.

Our COVID-19 emergency leave policy allows associates to stay home if they have any COVID-19 related symptoms, concerns, illness or are quarantined – knowing that their jobs will be protected.

Masks and Gloves

Today we are also sharing more guidance with our associates regarding masks and gloves.

While the CDC and other health officials do not recommend masks or gloves for healthy people who don't ordinarily use them for their jobs, we will make them available — as supplies permit — for associates who want to wear them.

The masks will arrive in 1-2 weeks. They will be high-quality masks, but not N95 respirators – which should be reserved for at-risk healthcare workers.

We encourage anyone who would like to wear a mask or gloves at work to ask their supervisor for them, while keeping in mind that it is still possible to spread germs while wearing them.

6-20-100 Guidance

This week we are also sharing a new framework with associates regarding healthy behaviors at work. We’re asking them to remember three numbers: 6, 20 and 100.

6 feet is the amount of space people should keep from others, when possible, to maintain social distancing.

20 seconds is the amount of time people should take to wash their hands with soap and water.

And 100 is the temperature that someone should stay home with.

We will continue to consult with health officials and experts inside and outside Walmart as this situation evolves. We greatly appreciate the work our associates are doing for customers, members, and their communities, and we will continue to prioritize their health and well-being.

Watch live- Arkansas governor's COVID-19 briefing at 1:30 p.m.

Monday, March 30, 2020

A heartfelt message to my readers about the Turner Report's coverage of COVID-19

Though this COVID-19 crisis is nothing like the Joplin Tornado, my experience following that earlier event laid the groundwork for the approach that I have used in covering the virus and its effects on this area.

East Middle School, the school where I taught eighth grade English, was destroyed by the tornado and the Joplin R-8 School District canceled classes for the remainder of the school year.

I decided to use the unexpected vacation to make the Turner Report a source for those wanting information about the tornado.

I published every bit of information I could find about the tornado and after an initial hesitation, I also decided to print the obituaries of those who died either on May 22, 2011, or as a result of the injuries they received that afternoon.

I took note of the important work that was being done by Rebecca and Genevieve Williams of Neosho with their Joplin Tornado Info Facebook page and by the folks at KZRG, who were serving as conduits for information about the tornado and the beginning of the recovery process.

I published some of that information, as well as drawing from the sources I had always used for the Turner Report- political columns, YouTube videos, government news releases and court records.

I was concerned about overwhelming my Facebook friends with all of these posts, but instead I began receiving a considerable number of friend requests and I watched as the traffic on the Turner Report continued to increase.

Through that experience following the tornado, I was able to find more websites that provided important information, not only about the tornado, but on a range of subjects and I have continued to add to that list in the nearly nine years since the tornado.

I drew on that experience as I made two decisions regarding the coverage of COVID-19.

1. I determined that rather than have some of the COVID-19 posts on the Turner Report and others on Inside Joplin and my other blogs, nearly all of them will be on the Turner Report. That is the blog people have gone to for news and commentary about this area for the past 17 years.

2. I expanded the coverage area of the Turner Report because of the large amount of traffic that goes through this area from Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. I have already been running some southeast Kansas news on Inside Joplin and deaths on the Inside Pittsburg Obituaries site. The decisions made by political officials and health officials in those states could easily have as much effect in this corner of the state as the decisions made by Missouri officials.

While there was plenty of information available after the Joplin Tornado, the variety of sources has increased by an incredible amount since 2011.

Nearly every government and governmental agency has a Facebook page and regularly updates it. Many of them do live video on Facebook or have their own YouTube pages.

It is impossible for anyone to keep up with all of the information about this disease and the efforts to combat it, including me, but my job is to sift through the information and provide as much of it as I can to you, so you don't have to search for it.

I will post the White House briefings, Gov. Parson's briefings, news releases and updates, information about area businesses, anything that might have value for you.

You have helped me considerably by pointing me in the direction of information I missed. That is much appreciated.

I intend to do my best to make sure the Turner Report continues to have useful information, not only updates on the effects the coronavirus is having, but also on the actions and remarks being made by our elected officials and business leaders and on the powerful effect this situation is having for all of us.

Thank you for reading.

I won't let you down.

Kansas City Star: Ed Emery dangerously short of facts on COVID-19

In an editorial published today, the Kansas City Star slammed Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, for the column he wrote about COVID-19 last week.

In the column, Emery said stay-at-home orders and social distancing are unnecessary.

The editorial also criticizes Emery's contempt for the relief package approved by Congress.

Orders that regulate movements and private enterprise during the pandemic aren’t about individualism or collectivism. They’re about life, or sickness and death.
We stay at home to stop the spread of the virus and save lives, but it only works if others stay home, too, if they can. 
The virus is largely spread by personal contact. This is a community crisis, and a community-wide effort will be the only thing that ends it. Emery’s ill-informed broadside, and others like it, undercut that understanding and will inevitably make more people sick.

Neosho City Council unanimously rejects stay-at-home order

(From the City of Neosho)

After extended discussion on the proposed Ordinance for the City of Neosho to enact strict measures for a Stay at Home Ordinance in response to the COVID-19 Emergency, the Council voted unanimously to NOT enact such an ordinance at this time.

All council members stressed the importance of the public to take all precautions as have been previously stated in both emergency actions by the State & Federal Government to limit gatherings to no more than 10 persons, keep 6' distancing and practice a regimen of hygiene measures and social distancing in effort to flatten the curve of the coronavirus spread.

Council urged the community to continue to be educated on COVID-19 and also wished to thank those for their participation in providing input and concern as it related to the decision of the ordinance.

The next regular session of the Neosho City Council will be Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 7PM at Council Chambers. Public will be advised in advance as to how to view and listen to the proceedings via press release, Facebook and at www.neoshomo.org

Arkansas governor allocates additional $45 million for personal protective equipment

(From Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson)

With the approval of the General Assembly, Governor Asa Hutchinson has allocated an additional $45 million to the $30 million he authorized earlier for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators for health care professionals and first responders as they test and treat patients who have contracted COVID-19, he announced at a news conference today.

The $45 million is being allocated from the new COVID-19 Rainy Day Fund, which the state legislature established in the recent extraordinary session of the 92nd General Assembly.

The Governor previously authorized the release of $30 million for the purchase of PPE that, combined with the additional $45 million, raises to $75 million the funding for the procurement of PPE. This funding will help Arkansas meet the need for PPE and ensure that Arkansas health care workers have sufficient supply of protective gear. In addition to the procurement of PPE and ventilators, there are additional funds that can be used for a social distancing media initiative. 

“Our health care workers are on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19,” Governor Hutchinson said. “I have no higher priority than ensuring that they have the protection they need as they test and treat Arkansans. This funding will allow Arkansas to better compete in the worldwide marketplace and secure the necessary equipment to keep Arkansans safe.”

In a second announcement at today’s news conference, Governor Hutchinson issued an Executive Order that created the Arkansas Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Steering Committee (Arkansas CARES Act Steering Committee).

The steering committee is composed of fifteen members appointed by the Governor, six of whom are members of the General Assembly. The committee will identify the needs of the state and make recommendations to the Governor for the best use of the federal CARES Act funding.

Read the Executive Order HERE.

Parson provides daily update on Missouri COVID-19 battle

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

In today’s press briefing, Governor Mike Parson announced he has approved a waiver granting full reciprocity for physicians and surgeons from other states who wish to assist Missourians during the COVID-19 crisis.

Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance Director Chlora Lindley-Myers joined today's press briefing to provide more details.

“It is critical that our health professionals be able to treat Missourians during the COVID-19 crisis. We must provide more flexibility and alternative delivery methods for professionals in other states to provide care in Missouri,” Governor Parson said. “Our goal is to provide as much access to care as possible for the sake of all Missourians.”

The purpose of the reciprocity waiver is to allow health care professionals to provide care in areas of significant need during this public health crisis without having the barrier of government licensure issues.

During this state of emergency in Missouri, physicians and surgeons licensed in another state can provide care to Missouri citizens, in person or using telehealth options, as long as they are actively licensed in another state and their license has not been disciplined.

At the request of the Missouri State Board of Nursing and the Missouri Board for the Healing Arts, Governor Parson has also temporarily waived the regulation requiring that a collaborating physician and an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) be within 75 miles of each other.

This waiver expands the ability of health care professionals to directly serve the needs of all citizens during the COVID-19 outbreak and reduces travel of both patients and providers, which will help reduce the spread of the virus.

The waiver benefits patients and health care professionals in the following ways:

-Allows health practitioners to treat patients and minimizes travel and spread of the virus

-Allows a physician and APRN to collaborate regardless of where the providers are located

-Avoids the disruption of services should a collaborating physician become ill or be diverted to another practice location

The Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) also continues to take action and ensure Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens have the support they need to stay healthy. Acting Director Jennifer Tidball provided an update at today's briefing.

DSS is temporarily suspending Food Stamp applicant interviews as a condition of eligibility for applications received in March and April. DSS is getting clarification from USDA on May applications.

DSS will make a special payment to Child Care Subsidy providers to ensure they are paid no less in the month of March 2020 than the average of their payments for the preceding three months.

MO HealthNet is increasing communication with providers through extensive provider outreach efforts. Providers can now email billing questions regarding COVID-19 to covid-19@dss.mo.gov.
DSS is developing a food assistance community resource list that will be posted on the DSS website to help link Missourians to local food sources. DSS is also working with the Food Bank Association to help ensure Missourians have access to food.

The Family Support Division Call Center (855-373-4636) is now open 7 days a week, Monday through Friday 6:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The state also continues to procure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for hospitals, law enforcement, first responders, and other emergency service personnel. Below is a summary of PPE in Missouri as of today.

The Strategic National Stockpile is for hospitals, EMS, and long-term care facilities. The Missouri Strategic National Stockpile warehouse has shipped:

-52,800 face shields

-7,000 gloves

-3,263 cases of N-95, surgical, and sp blue masks (120-300 in a case depending on type)

-1,092 cases of surgical gowns (18-30 in a case depending on size)

PPE for first responders (including law enforcement and fire service agencies) has been purchased. SEMA has ordered:

-6,606,550 surgical masks

-5,814,800 gloves

-4,325,480 N-95 masks

-900,112 face shields

-508,000 biohazard bags

-441,560 bottles of hand sanitizer

-214,038 containers of disinfecting wipes

-208,000 medical shoe covers

-74,396 safety goggles

-5,000 surgical gowns

Watch live- Neosho City Council discusses possible stay-at-home order

Watch live- White House COVID-19 briefing

Two more COVID-19 cases confirmed in Christian County

(From the Christian County Health Department)

Christian County now has seven total cases of COVID-19.

The Christian County Health Department received information regarding a 54-year-old female and a 62-year-old female who tested positive for COVID-19.

These two individuals who are not related and both individuals are improving.

The first case reported in Christian County was a 61-year-old female earlier in March. This individual has served the 14-day self-isolation period and is now experiencing no symptoms of COVID-19.

Oklahoma reports 17 COVID-19 deaths

(From the Oklahoma State Department of Health)

As of this advisory, there are 481 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma. New counties with cases include Beckham, Cotton and Love counties. 

These counties will now be required to come into compliance with Governor Kevin Stitt's "Safer at Home" executive order that calls for non-essential businesses in counties with COVID-19 cases to temporarily suspend services until April 16.

There is an additional death in Cleveland County: a male in the 50-64 age group.

There are 17 total deaths in the state.

Governor Kevin Stitt issued Sunday evening a sixth amendment to Executive Order (EO) 2020-07, requiring travelers from six states to self-quarantine for 14 days, to include New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Louisiana, and Washington. 
Governor Stitt’s amended Executive Order also requires delivery personnel to submit to screenings when making deliveries at hospitals, clinics, long term care facilities and daycares. The EO also protects health care workers and their families from discrimination in housing or child care.

REMINDER: Governor Stitt’s “Safer at Home” order includes the following guidelines for all 77 counties until April 30:

· No gatherings in groups larger than 10 people.

· People age 65 or older or those with a compromised immune system must shelter at home.

· PLEASE NOTE: Some local municipalities, to include Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Norman, have put into place law enforcement efforts to enforce the Governor’s order as well as the cities’ additional “shelter in place” policies.

· On both statewide and municipal levels, individuals can still leave for essential errands such as to grocery stores or pharmacies. Please call 2-1-1 or visit covidresources.ok.gov for resources and information.

For more information, visit coronavirus.health.ok.gov.

Crawford County woman in her 40s dies from COVID-19

Crawford County, Kansas reported its first death from COVID-19 earlier this morning.

The victim is a woman in her 40s, according to the Crawford County Health Department.

She is the fifth confirmed COVID-19 case in the county.

More information can be found in the accompanying news release.

Governor signs order requiring visitors from six states to self-quarantine after entering Oklahoma

(From Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt)

Governor Kevin Stitt has issued a sixth amendment to Executive Order (EO) 2020-07, requiring travelers from six states to self-quarantine for 14 days, requiring delivery personnel to submit to screenings upon request at hospitals, clinics, long term care facilities and daycares, and protecting health care workers and their families from discrimination in housing or childcare.

“Our health care workers are the true heroes in this fight against COVID-19,” said Gov. Stitt. “These protections will continue to keep them and their families safe as they work to take care of their fellow Oklahomans.”

In accordance with the latest CDC guidelines, Sixth Amended EO 2020-07 requires travelers entering Oklahoma from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. This requirement also extends to anyone who has traveled from California, Louisiana or Washington.

Self-quarantine protocols include staying at home, not having visitors and practicing social distancing. Individuals who are self-quarantined and need access to groceries or medication should seek to have them delivered to their doorstep or call 211 for assistance.

Sixth Amended EO 2020-07 also requires delivery personnel to submit to screening upon request before entering any hospital, long term care facility or childcare facility. This screening would likely include a temperature check and short questionnaire about possible exposure to COVID-19.

Additionally, Sixth Amended EO 2020-07 protects health care workers and their families from discrimination related to housing or child care.

“We know how critical it is that our health care workers have access to child care so they can continue their vital life-saving work,” said Gov. Stitt. “It goes against the Oklahoma Standard to exclude families of health care workers from the services they need while they are working so hard to protect us.”

All Oklahoma courthouses closed due to COVID-19

(From the Oklahoma Supreme Court)

On March 24, 2020, Governor J. Kevin Stitt issued the Fourth Amended Executive Order 2020-07 and ordered that additional steps be taken to protect all Oklahomans from the growing threat of COVID-19.

This Second Emergency Joint Order joins the Governor in addressing the ever changing situation in the district courts in all 77 counties as well as the appellate courts in Oklahoma and Tulsa Counties. 

We admonish all Oklahoma judges, court clerks, court employees and staff and the public to follow the guidelines to protect public health set forth in the Governor’s Executive Orders, those issued by the Oklahoma Department of Health and the CDC.

All district courts in Oklahoma shall immediately cancel all jury terms through May 15, 2020. No additional jurors shall be summoned without approval of the Chief Justice. All civil, criminal and juvenile jury trials shall be continued to the next available jury dockets. If necessary, additional jury terms may be ordered in July and/or August or later in the year.

Subject only to constitutional limitations, all deadlines and procedures whether prescribed by statute, rule or order in any civil, juvenile or criminal case, shall be suspended through May 15, 2020. This suspension also applies to appellate rules and procedures for the Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, and the Court of Civil Appeals.

In any civil case, the statute of limitations shall be extended through May 15, 2020.

All courthouses in all 77 counties shall be closed to the public with exceptions for emergencies as permitted by local order. 

To the extent that emergency dockets are being held, no more than 10 persons including the judge and court personnel shall be in a courtroom at one time. 

Judges and other courthouse personnel shall use all available means to ensure the health of all participants in any court proceeding. 

If judges continue to hold hearings, all of the mandated COVID-19 precautions issued by the CDC and all State and local governments shall be followed. 

Judges shall continue to use remote participation to the extent possible by use of telephone conferencing, video conferencing pursuant to Rule 34 of the Rules for District Courts, or other means.

Court clerks and judges shall use email, fax and drop boxes for acceptance of written materials, except for emergencies. All appellate filings shall be made by mail.

This order is subject to extension or modification as necessitated by this emergency.






Walmart hires 25,000 new employees in less than a week with goal of 150,000

While many businesses have been forced to close their doors during the COVID-19 crisis, grocery stores such was Walmart remain open to provide needed food and supplies.

With the added demand for goods, Walmart has been expanding its workforce, adding 25,000 employees in less than a week on the way to 150,000, according to a CNBC report:

Walmart has sped up hiring, too -- particularly for cashiers and stockers. To quickly turn applicants into employees, Walmart is encouraging people to apply online or simply send a text message. The retailer is skipping formal interviews and written offers. Instead, it’s asking store managers to screen candidates and make verbal offers over the phone, company spokeswoman Robyn Babbitt said.

Watch live- Arkansas governor provides COVID-19 briefing at 1:30 p.m.

Springfield City Council to conduct meetings electronically during COVID-19 crisis

(From the City of Springfield)

Upcoming Springfield City Council meetings will be held electronically, via Zoom videoconferencing technology, with the usual live stream and broadcast viewing options provided.

Council meetings can be seen on Mediacom cable channels 15.1, 22 and 80 and AT&T Uverse channel 99, or viewed online at Cityview.springfieldmo.gov/livestream. The Council meetings are also live streamed on the @CityofSgf Facebook page.

City Council members will be participating via videoconference to follow physical distancing requirements as indicated in the Mayor’s proclamation declaring a state of civil emergency and Stay-At-Home order


A Special City Council meeting, will be held at noon, Tuesday, March 31. 

It is not anticipated that public comment will be taken at this meeting based on the agenda only containing second reading items that have already received public comment. 

Additionally, City Council will be considering a motion to temporarily adopt a rule coinciding with the Mayor’s proclamation declaring a state of civil emergency. This rule would require citizens to contact the City Clerk by 5 p.m. on the Friday before a meeting to sign up to speak to any agenda item or to remove an item from the consent agenda. The purpose of the proposed motion is to allow for planning to protect public health and safety during this time of emergency.

City Council will continue to meet electronically, resuming its regular schedule of every other Monday evening, at 6:30 p.m., beginning Monday, April 6, 2020. 

Citizens who have signed up with the City Clerk in accordance with the new rule, if adopted, will be provided an option to view the virtual meeting and participate via a camera at Historic City Hall (first floor) connected to the Zoom meeting. Physical distancing requirements will be followed at Historic City Hall, managed by staff.

Public Service Commission urges cities to classify utility employees as essential workers

(From the Missouri Public Service Commission)

The Missouri Public Service Commission today sent a letter to local officials throughout the state urging them, whether they have enacted shelter-in-place orders due to COVID-19 or who may be looking to enact such orders shortly, to recognize employees of the various utilities as essential workers.

The Commission’s letter states, “Workers in the telecommunications, electricity, natural gas, water and sewer sectors are performing crucial and necessary work on critical infrastructure. 

It is important that they continue working so Missourians can receive essential utility services during this pandemic.” 

A copy of the Commission’s letter is below:

Dear Local Officials: 

We realize you are evaluating and enacting measures to protect your community during these uncertain times. 

Some cities and counties have enacted shelter-in-place orders, while others may be looking to enact such orders shortly. We all need to work together to fight the spread of COVID-19, so we urge you to recognize the employees for the various utilities as essential workers. 

These workers are indispensable to ensuring Missouri’s citizens receive safe and reliable access to water, heat, power, and information. 

Workers in the telecommunications, electricity, natural gas, water, and sewer sectors are performing crucial and necessary work on critical infrastructure. 

It is important that they continue working so Missourians can receive essential utility services during this pandemic. 

Even though utility crews are trying to minimize their contact with the general public, sometimes they must perform work in the field. It is for this reason the Commission urges you, whether you have already issued a shelter-in-place order or may in the future, to designate utility workers as essential. 

Commissioners of the Missouri Public Service Commission