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Cox Health opens new covid-19 unit as cases on the rise in the Ozarks

Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 8:59 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -

Cox Hospital reports 25 COVID-19 patients, 10 admitted in its new wing dedicated to the virus. And while they expect even more positive cases in the coming weeks, they say they are prepared to handle them.

“It’s highly efficient, our doctors can look at all these patients at once, they are not going in and out of rooms, everything is designed, that unit was designed for COVID, nothing else,” said Cox Health CEO, Steven Edwards.

Edwards says after a recent spike in coronavirus cases across the Ozarks, as most new patients coming from outside Greene County, they have decided to finally open their COVID-19 unit.

“As a reference point, In our system, on July 1, just two weeks ago we had 268 positives from march all the way to July 1, we are now at 568, we have had more than a doubling in two weeks,” said Edwards.

And Edwards expects those numbers to rise even more.

“Even those we have passed a mask ordinance, right now there are patients that are incubating, they don’t know they have this and so we expect this number to probably double again in another two weeks,” said Edwards.

The hospital is calling in extra nurses, specifically for this unit. And they have all the PPE and equipment needed. There are things he says they don’t have.

“We don’t have the levels of Remdesivir and convalescent plasma that we would like because of the national shortage. If you have antibodies for this disease, we encourage people to go to the Community Blood Center, donate, we need that right now,” said Edwards.

As for Mercy, health officials say they have 17 positive COVID-19 patients, including one in labor and delivery.

“We have the capability to take care of up to 200 COVID positive patients, we hope we never get to that point, especially with the masking ordinance passing here within the last couple of days and going into effect on Thursday and of course we are encouraging other communities in the area to do the same,” said COO and President of Mercy Hospitals Springfield, Brent Hubbard.

Health officials at CoxHealth say they are still seeing the age of admitted patients go down, they say in the earlier months of COVID-19 the average age was 68, now it’s 62

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