Carlos Wade is an inmate at the Southeast Missouri Correctional Center in the Bootheel, who we talked to back in July. He recently updated me on how things are going inside prison – nearly ten months into the pandemic and after another round of cases at the facility.
According to the Missouri Department of Corrections, as of December 24, 2020, they have gotten most of the outbreaks back under control – with only 179 active inmate cases and 96 active prison staff cases.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 39 inmates and 5 staff have died of the disease.
Liz Ellison is an RN and critical care nurse at a local hospital in Columbia. She spoke about what it’s like for her – personally – as she prepares to receive the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
She received the first dose of the vaccine last Thursday afternoon – just hours after our conversation.
JoNetta Weaver is the executive director of Meals on Wheels of Columbia. She spoke about how the organization continues to offer hot meals to people in need, and about how they’ve had to tackle another health crisis during the ongoing pandemic – loneliness in the senior community.
Marc Johnson and Chung-ho Lin are both researchers at the University of Missouri who study wastewater – yes, like sewage – to learn about human health and track things like outbreaks of COVID-19.
They spoke about how their research in wastewater allows them to gain insight into human health – like COVID-19 infections, and how it could be useful even once the coronavirus pandemic ends.
Jennifer Roberts is one of the organizers of the Columbia Neighborhood Lunch Clubs – a group of volunteers that collects the meals delivered to bus stops by Columbia Public Schools and delivers them door-to-door.
She spoke about how many families – from all economic backgrounds – are struggling with food access during the ongoing pandemic and how they all can utilize the Clubs’ services and make providing meals to school age kids a simpler task.
This piece was reported and produced by Chris Mitchell.
Beth Orns and Katie McDannald are both mental health professionals in Columbia. They spoke about how their work has an impact on their own mental health, as well as about how even they need help, at times – especially in a year like 2020.
This piece was reported and produced by Olivia Love.
Matthew Huffman works at the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and we checked in – eight months into the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
He spoke about how the lives of Missourians experiencing domestic violence are being further complicated by intersecting factors – housing insecurity, continued isolation, gun violence and more.
Huffman mentioned a new report from The Violence Policy Center called “When Men Murder Women An Analysis of 2018 Homicide Data,” in which Missouri ranks 2nd for number of women killed by intimate partners.
Mathew Gass and Matt Lemon both work at Burrell Behavioral Health. Mathew Gass is the President of the Central Region, which includes Columbia, and Matt Lemon is the Director of Communications for the entire Burrell system – based in Springfield.
They spoke about some of the mental health impacts the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has already had on Missourians, and about the long-term community-wide mental health impacts the pandemic is likely to leave in its wake.
Lynelle Phillips and Scott Clardy both work with Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services. Scott is the Assistant Director and Lynelle is a professor at the University of Missouri who leads a team of contact investigator volunteers.
They spoke about the bad rap that college age students get when it comes to testing positive for COVID-19 and about some of the ways college students can help keep themselves and their community – safe.
Amie VanMorlan lives and works in Columbia. She’s the incoming President of the local SEPTA, or special education PTA, a pediatric endocrinologist and the mom of Sagan and Damien.
Sagan is an upcoming senior, and Damien is an almost 7th grader who has Fragile X syndrome. This condition can lead to intellectual disabilities and autism, and is the leading inherited cause of intellectual disability.
Amie spoke about some of the ways Damien and rest of the family are adjusting to the world of COVID-19.
Carlos Wade is an inmate at the Southeast Correctional Center in the Bootheel, and is currently working in the facility’s medical unit to keep things sanitized and, ideally, help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Southeast Correctional Center recently had an outbreak of COVID-19 cases – where 47 inmates and 20 staff members tested positive, so Carlos called me to talk about what life is like in prison during the ongoing pandemic and about some of his concerns.
According to the Department of Corrections, since the initial sentinel, or facility-wide testing was done, all but one inmate and three staff members have recovered from COVID-19.
Dr. Mack Taylor lives and works in the Bootheel. He’s the Chief Dental Officer for the SEMO Health Network and the provider at the Bernie dental clinic.
He spoke about the “new normal” of dental practice during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and how new safety precautions are impacting the care available to patients.
Verna Laboy is a health educator for Columbia/Boone County Public Health & Human Services, and runs the Live Well by Faith program, a community-based health program that targets chronic health conditions through black churches.
The program supports health ministries at 17 black churches in the area by providing health programming, training and resources for people in the congregation, and leaders within each church help run programming and do data collection.
She spoke with Dee Campbell-Carter, a lifestyle coach for the program, about just a few of the ways the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is impacting the black community here in Columbia – and how they’re supporting one another.
Dr. Opeoluwa Sotonwa is the executive director of the Missouri Commission for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing in Jefferson City.
He spoke about the importance of accessible communication for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Missourians and about some recent advances – like the availability of clear masks and American Sign Language interpreters at Governor Mike Parson’s COVID-19 briefings – and how those have impacted the lives and well-being of all Missourians during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
You are hearing Dr. Opeoluwa Sotonwa as interpreted by AJ Housewright.
Dr. John Dane is the State Dental Director and Gary Harbison is the executive director of the Missouri Coalition for Oral Health.
They spoke about some of the concerns they have about the possible long-term impacts of COVID-19 on oral health, as many dental clinics have been closed and Missourians may have gotten out of a normal oral health routine.
Madeline Nash is a counselor at University Counseling Services at Truman State University in Kirksville, and full disclosure, someone I knew during my undergrad at Truman.
She spoke about her role with college students since classes moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic, and about how students – and others – should “give themselves that empathy” to mourn the loss of things like graduation during this unprecedented time.
Dr. Bart Andrews is the Chief Clinical Officer at Behavioral Health Response in Creve Coeur and Chair of the Missouri Suicide Prevention Network.
He spoke about the possible increased risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts during the coronavirus pandemic – and about what everyone can do to help.
This piece was reported and produced by Trevor Hook.
Dr. Michael Lefevre is the interim chair of MU’s Department of Family Medicine. He researches best practices in family medicine and public health, and is a physician himself.
He spoke about how the field of family medicine is changing during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect staff and patients – and to keep the most vulnerable among us, safe.
This is an excerpt from KBIA’s daily talk show, the Check-In with Janet Saidi, on Monday, April 13. You can hear the full show – here
Copyright 2017 KBIA and The University of Missouri. Development and Design by Nathan Lawrence.