Hospitalizations surging at Cox South, officials warn some COVID-19 patients could be diverted to other facilities

CoxHealth ICU
CoxHealth ICU(KY3)
Published: Jun. 18, 2021 at 3:37 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 3:40 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Hospitalizations are surging at Cox South and other CoxHealth sites, and health officials are warning that COVID-19 patients could be diverted to other facilities throughout Missouri if that trend continues.

CoxHealth facilities are currently treating 79 patients for COVID-19, according to a Facebook post Friday from the health system. CoxHealth sites are treating nearly five times the amount of COVID-19 patients compared to last month.

“We are dedicated to caring for all patients in the safest fashion possible. Given that other large cities in Missouri are not surging, their hospitals may have sufficient capacity and be able to help us care for our community in this surge,” said Cox Health in a Facebook post Friday.

Health officials say the faster-spreading Delta variant has led to a recent increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations throughout southwest Missouri. Kendra Findley, a health investigator for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, says the increasing cases and random testing of virus samples have confirmed the more infectious variant is spreading quickly.

Steve Edwards, president and CEO of CoxHealth, said Thursday that 90% of new Greene County cases are due to the Delta variant. He added that CoxHealth sites were treating only 16 patients nearly a month ago.

At least 28 patients are being treated at Cox South, according to Edwards’ latest update.

Compared to previous months, health officials warn it could be more difficult for patients to get the treatment they need for COVID-19 and variants.

“During the last COVID-19 surge, CoxHealth employees were joined by hundreds of traveling nurses and respiratory therapists who were dedicated to caring for COVID-19 patients. Unfortunately, there now is a limited number of those individuals available. This reality is compounded by the fact that COVID-19 patients take a great deal of concentrated attention and specific expertise, requiring more staffing than other units,” said CoxHealth.

CoxHealth added it is not planning to scale back its services, which is why health officials are considering diverting some patients.

This is a developing story. Check back for more details.

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