Mercy Springfield runs out of ventilators, rise in patients forces expansion to a second COVID-19 ICU

As of July 5 there are 115+ new cases of Covid-19 at Mercy Springfield. Chief administrative officer Erik Frederick says “Physicians , nurses and respiratory therapists are tired. Heck Everyone is tired.”
Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 1:32 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 5, 2021 at 5:35 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Mercy Springfield is treating more than 100 patients for COVID-19, and the hospital is running short on ventilators.

As of July 5, the hospital reports more than 115 COVID-19 hospital admissions. Mercy is running around 50 ventilators, according to Mercy Chief administrative officer Erik Frederick.

As a result, the hospital is bringing in ventilators from surrounding Mercy hospitals, including Northwest Arkansas and St. Louis.

“St. Louis, Northwest Arkansas, and Oklahoma City Mercy hospitals are not seeing the COVID surge that we are seeing. We are grateful they are here to provide us additional support,” said Frederick.

As of June 5, Mercy Springfield received 14 ventilators from surrounding hospitals and is immediately putting them to use.

“We put one right into service, and we have about 14 on standby right now. When we look at our census of 115 patients, about 85 of those patients right now are on some kind of mechanical ventilation support. That’s pretty scary,” said Frederick.

Forty-nine patients are currently on ventilation at Mercy, and 25 of those are COVID-19 patients, according to Mercy.

“We are expanding to 2nd COVID ICU and a 2nd step down. Physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists are tired. Heck everyone is tired. Travel RN’s coming this week. Physician support being arranged. If you’re a RT, call us,” tweeted Frederick.

The overflow of patients recently has been a issue as well. Mercy Springfield is sending some COVID-19 patients over to Kansas City for treatment.

On July 4, the Chief Administrative Officer tweeted, “Spent the night looking for ventilators because we ran out. 47 patients on vents. A lot of those are COVID but not all,” said Frederick.

Cases are higher than what they were in the winter time, and hospitals are seeing more and more situations where a ventilator is needed.

“Over the weekend we reached into the 115-case mark. We are beyond numbers that we saw in the original surge back in the winter. This time is different because we are utilizing a lot more mechanical ventilation support for our patients,” said Frederick.

KY3 reached out to CoxHealth, another major health system in Springfield and in Southwest Missouri, to see if they were experiencing this problem as well.

CoxHealth’s VP of clinical services, Ashley Kimberling Casad, told us they are seeing a huge increase in COVID-19 patients, but still have enough ventilators because they have accumulated a large supply over the last couple of months.

“We have seen around 95 to 105 COVID patients for about two weeks. On June 5, we were only at 35 patients, so it’s a pretty extraordinary increase over the last month,” said Kimberling.

Right now at CoxHealth, they have 35 ventilators in use and 47 that are currently open, according to Kimberling.

CoxHealth is starting to see that group that has not been vaccinated. According to Kimberling, 50 out of 56 COVID samples they recently sent to the state were the Delta variant.

The delta variant, according to the CDC, is targeting younger age groups and has more intense symptoms, and spread quicker than what we have seen before.

Health officials told us the rise in patients is due to the Delta variant and having a low population of people that are vaccinated in Southwest Missouri.

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