Springfield-Greene Co. Health Dept. Acting Director sheds light on new COVID-19 cases, urges vaccinations

Published: Jun. 19, 2021 at 1:34 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 19, 2021 at 1:44 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Katie Towns, the Acting Director of Health for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, offered new insight on the community’s COVID-19 situation and response with a series of tweets Saturday.

The new comments come as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge in Springfield and southwest Missouri. Health leaders estimate around 90% of new cases Greene County in recent weeks are due to the Delta variant.

Towns addressed the rising cases by noting “it’s hard to understand how else to ask, encourage and motivate, but I’m watching this delta variant break us.”

“It’s making people so sick. And killing our loved ones. And our healthcare workers keep showing up and taking care of those who aren’t vaccinated anyway. Even though they’re exhausted, overwhelmed and grieving too,” said Towns via Twitter.

Unlike previous months, the two main health systems in Springfield (Mercy Hospital and Cox South), do not have as many traveling nurses and respiratory therapists available to care for COVID-19 patients. If hospitalizations increase, it could become more difficult for both sites to offer concentrated attention on patients.

On Friday, CoxHealth officials warned that COVID-19 patients could be diverted to other facilities throughout Missouri if hospitals continue to fill up. Mercy intends to stay open despite a spike in COVID-19 admissions, and did not announce a possible scenario Friday in which patients might be diverted.

Towns encouraged community members to get vaccinated. She says the Springfield-Greene County Health Department is working on billboards and door-to-door campaigns among other ideas to improve vaccination numbers in southwest Missouri. The health department reports around 37% of Greene County residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

To find a vaccination opportunity in Springfield, CLICK HERE.

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