Joplin health officials discuss preparedness for possible second wave of COVID-19 this fall

JOPLIN, Mo. – Officials with the Joplin Health Department are monitoring the reopening process and it’s effect on COVID-19 cases. They’re also looking to the future and a possible resurgence of COVID-19 this fall.

It’s still too early for health officials to know what the impact of reopening will have on COVID-19 cases in the area. But it’s something they’re monitoring closely as time progresses. They’re also looking at the possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19 this fall. Joplin Health Department Dan Pekerak says “The challenges are going to be when you’re trying to determine if it is the flu or not, early on in the flu season, when anybody had symptoms, a lot of times dual tests were run at the same time.”

Pekerak says he’s hopeful there will be some improvements between now and then. “We certainly hope by the fall that maybe we even have a more of an availability of rapid testing for COVID-19 in the area so that you don’t have to wait 24, 72 hours to get test results.”

Trae Frisbee is the General Manager of 24 Elite Gym in Joplin. He says since they re-opened there’s a number of things they’ve had to change especially when it comes to cleaning. “Just all the little places that you don’t really think to deep clean or clean off pretty regularly, paying a little bit more attention to that and how frequently you really need to clean those, that’s been a huge game changer and something we’ve really had to step up on.”

Frisbee feels they’re better prepared should there be a second wave. “The best we can do is kinda learn as we go, I think we learned a lot on this first go around what to do, what not to do, how to handle certain things, how not to handle things, and I think we’ve got a good game plan moving forward.”

Pekerak says the precautions we took were enough to help now and in the future. “I think those were put in place based on the best guidance we had at the time. Obviously, we’ll have more information, several months from now, we’ll have better information about what we think might be appropriate or might not be appropriate, based on experiences we had this time around.”

Pekerak tells us they never expected a major surge in cases in our area during the first wave, and he’s hopeful, if there is another round of Coronavirus, our numbers will remain low compared to other major cities.