On Monday, administrators of six healthcare providers who serve Southwest Missouri called for local county and city governments to reconsider a mask mandate. K R P S’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro has more. 

The Executives and Presidents of both the Mercy hospital in Joplin and Mercy Clinic, Freeman Health System, Kansas City University, Community Clinic of Southwest Missouri, Access Family Care, in addition to the Administrator of the Jasper County Health Department, co-wrote a letter to the elected officials of Newton and Jasper counties and the cities of Joplin, Webb City, Carl Junction, Carthage and Neosho urging the communities to take action on a mask mandate to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Dr. Robert McNab, Director of the COVID Unit at Freeman, spoke about the open letter on Tuesday. “The pandemic is a community health issue, and it is a problem that cannot be managed without a community response. It’s not a physical problem, or a nursing problem, or an administration problem, it’s a community health issue, so we have to have all of our partners at the table.” Yesterday, Jasper county health officials reported five additional COVID-related fatalities, bringing the county’s total to 69.