In a letter made public today, Joplin hospitals and other local health care leaders are asking area governments to implement a mask mandate.

"This is for the explicit purpose of reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our community, which we know is the only way to reduce the number of sick people in our hospital," the letter says.

The health care groups say that when the Joplin mask mandate was in place earlier this summer, COVID-19 hospitalizations consistently stayed at a "manageable" level in the community. But now, more ventilators are being used, and hospital leaders are concerned about hospitalization rates climbing even higher "and what that would mean for our capacity and ability to handle both COVID-19 and the myriad other reasons people end up in one of our hospital beds," they said.

Read more from the hospitals, and what local community leaders are saying, from reporter Debby Woodin at joplinglobe.com and in Wednesday's print edition.

You'll also find:

  • A story from reporter Joe Hadsall about the latest CARES Act purchase by Newton County.
  • Recipes for quiche and eggs Benedict from food columnist Josie Mai.
  • An update on Galena's Riley McNemar, who has signed to play softball with Auburn University.

Thanks for reading. Have a nice evening. Stay safe.

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Emily Younker is the managing editor at the Joplin Globe. Contact: eyounker AT joplinglobe DOT com.