Joplin Health Dept. responds to national article predicting area as COVID-19 hot spot

JOPLIN, Mo. – It seems like the more you go out, the fewer masks you see, even as cases increase in the area.

“It don’t really scare us. We don’t really take it with a grain of salt. We understand that people are getting sick, but we aren’t gonna let it control our lives,” said Debbie Harris, one Joplin resident.

A lot of people feel that way, but there are others who are concerned about the rising numbers in Joplin and Jasper County, taking extra precautions to protect susceptible ones in the community.

“I live with my grandparents and so I, when I came back, I spent like a couple months distancing from them and I’ve even gone out of the way to like living in a studio,” explained Anthony Azzun.

A New York Times article listed Joplin as a potential hot spot for an outbreak with an 11% growth rate and cases listed as doubling every 6.5 days, but, the Joplin Health Department wants to clarify that these numbers include cases from surrounding counties.Joplin

“Just knowing the increase in the number of cases that we’ve seen as Joplin, Jasper, Newton, McDonald, this whole region in here going into Southeast Kansas and Oklahoma, as well, I’m not surprised by it. Our workload in the last couple weeks has just exploded,” said Ryan Talken with the Joplin Health Dept.

While Joplin is reporting 58 total cases: 22 active and 101 in quarantine, Jasper County’s latest numbers show a total of 259 with 210 in isolation, and over 750 on quarantine.

“As we have more cases, contacts spin off of those cases and so those contacts end up getting tested, testing those contacts that were exposed, a lot of those are coming back positive,” said Talken.

With the increasing case load, Talken says it’s more important than ever to take precautions.

“Human behavior spreads it and we know what it takes to slow it down to prevent it.”

The Jasper County Health Department says that the majority of cases are clustered around the Carthage area. If you’re sick, health officials strongly encourage you to stay home.