Public health officials say COVID-19 hospitalizations in Springfield at an all time high

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 9:37 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - There’s a dire need for more medical resources to fight the COVID-19 surge hitting the Ozarks.

The state of Missouri is working to finalize plans with Greene County for an alternate care site for patients, among other resources.

“The disease is bad right now. We have never seen the level of hospitalizations that we have right now in our community,” said Katie Towns, Acting Director, Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

President and CEO of CoxHealth, Steve Edwards, said, “Everyday we’re at our limit. We’re going to run out of options.”

Both CoxHealth and Mercy Hospitals in Springfield have well over 100 people each being treated for the COVID-19 virus.

Edwards says the increase in patients requires shifting hospital resources.

“It requires all kinds of re-engineering. We’re doing that almost every week, to re-engineer how we’re delivering care,” he said.

Although both facilities are bringing in health care professionals from around the country hospital space is running short.

“There’s really no where for patients to go as other hospitals in the region are filling up. If we understand the trajectory of this disease as we have, we’ll see hospitals, as far away as the deep south, filling up as well,” said Edwards.

Towns said, “From what we’re hearing from the hospitals we’re not out of this anytime soon.”

Last week local health officials appealed to the state for more resources, including an alternative care site. This would be a hospital-like location would able to handle the overflow of patients due to coronavirus using resources currently being used in hospital COVID units.

But the state asked local officials to resubmit their application.

“There were some questions from the state over the weekend. We talked to them on Monday morning. They asked us to resubmit with some clarifying information,” said Towns.

Until more resources arrive local health leaders are hoping more people get vaccinated.

“I, just, would plead with the community that, don’t be the person who ends up in the hospital and wishes that they had been vaccinated. It’s happening over and over again,” said Towns.

Edwards said, “The majority, probably 99 percent plus of our admissions for COVID are un-vaccinated.”

Health department officials say they are confident that the request for more help will be approved.

They are working with state and federal officials to determine a location.

Right now, it’s unclear when all of this could happen.

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