As Joplin mask mandate winds down should the City Council extend it?

Joplin Mayor Ryan Stanley speaking at a COVID-19 update

New cases of COVID-19 have steadily improved in Joplin over the past 10-weeks as the flow of new cases has declined. Tuesday, the Joplin Health Department reported a rolling 7-day average of 21 new cases per day. At the pandemic’s peak in Joplin, the department reported a weekly average of 47-new cases per day in mid-November.

The slow down in cases has also mirrored the timeline of the mask mandate in Joplin, approved on November 19th it expires at the end of this month. The President and CEO of Freeman Health System Paula Baker favors continued mask-wearing, even if the mandate is not prolonged. “We’re a big supporter of masks. I think it’s important in helping people protect themselves and their loved ones against COVID-19. And we’ve also seen a very secondary benefit, with the mask ordinance, our flu cases are down significantly.” The improvement in cases is likely due not only to mask-wearing but to herd immunity, social distancing, and the availability of COVID-19 vaccines.

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