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State of Missouri strike team continues to help lighten the load in Springfield hospitals

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 8:26 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - State strike teams have been helping Springfield doctors and nurses as the Delta variant puts more patients in hospital beds.

Those strike teams arrived on Friday, consisting of additional ambulances, staffing and an antibody treatment infusion center taking place at the Jordan Valley Community Health Center.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department Health Director, Katie Towns says the monoclonal antibody infusion treatment is already helping to ease the burden on the hospitals in Springfield.

”By potentially preventing the need for hospital stays for these patients who receive this treatment,” Towns says.

Monoclonal antibodies help your body fight off the virus and reduce the risk of severe illness and hospitalization. However, the treatment should be given to high-risk patients soon after testing positive.

CoxHealth President and CEO Steve Edwards says that takes a weight off the number of people hospitalized.

“I think so far we’re moving about 11 of those cases to Jordan Valley so that frees up at least 11 beds for us so that’s good and capacity that’s helpful to us,” Edwards says.

When it comes to the request to set up an alternate care site, no decision has been made yet.

“It’s hard for government to move this quickly as the urgency might require,” Edwards says. “We know that we need that help rather immediately.”

Towns says they’re working with the state to finalize a location.

“There’s a lot of confidentiality with regard to the facilities so that there isn’t disruption in their processes and procedures in doing other things that they do on a daily basis,” Towns says.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a set of requirements the location choice has to meet.

“Being able to provide space that can withstand the patients that need to be placed in beds and provided care and all of those sorts of things that the hospital would normally provide,” Towns says.

Edwards says Cox Hospital is close to capacity, with some patients being transferred out of town. Edwards says that’s where the states ten advanced life support ambulances helps.

“When they transfer a patient it keeps a routine ambulance in play,” Edwards says.

CoxHealth is growing to meet the demands of the high hospitalizations. It includes more than 200 traveling nurses and respiratory therapists.

“We do look to have a capacity of 200 plus in the next couple of weeks and quite frankly if the demand grows, there’s probably no other option so we’ll grow too,” Edwards says.

However, it’s not just Cox that is growing to meet the demand.

Mercy has six total COVID-19 care units. Three of those COVID-19 units will now specifically be coronavirus intensive care units, according to Mercy President and COO Brett Hubbard.

“We are in the process of educating and training our nursing staff on providing the ICU level of care including the ventilator utilization,” Hubbard says.

The strike team can stay for up to two weeks. Towns says the health department is in communication with the state for additional support and resources after that.

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