Officials with Freeman Health System in Joplin were very optimistic regarding the direction of the COVID-19 pandemic. KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro attended this week’s press conference and filed this report.
Freeman President and CEO Paula Baker continued to emphasize that the residents of Southwest Missouri get vaccinated to protect themselves, their friends, and family members against a disease that has killed nearly 11,500 people in the state. Baker has been outspoken about getting vaccinated and has received pushback from members of the community for doing so. Yet, Joplin ranks 1st in Missouri for having the highest percentage of residents receiving their first dose and completing their inoculations.
When asked why she thinks Joplin leads the state, she responded. “I think the people of Joplin are pretty smart. They see the wisdom of getting the vaccine. They understand that they are safe and effective. I’m really proud of our community for taking that leadership role.” Baker also noted that as of Wednesday the Freeman had 19 COVID-19 patients between its Joplin and Neosho facilities with two patients on ventilators. She also reported that five patients had died due to COVID since last Friday. For 89 9 KRPS, I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro