Mercy Springfield, CoxHealth both treating 100+ COVID-19 patients over weekend; Mercy adds another COVID unit

Published: Jul. 11, 2021 at 3:16 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - More than 100 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19 at Mercy Springfield and CoxHealth facilities around the Ozarks region as of Sunday, July 11.

Erik Frederick, the Chief Administrative Officer of Mercy Springfield, and Steve Edwards, the CEO and President of CoxHealth, shared updates on COVID-19 hospitalizations to Twitter on Sunday.

Mercy Springfield and CoxHealth are treating a combined 252 COVID-19 patients as of Sunday. This total includes 20 new patients at CoxHealth sites and the same number at Mercy Springfield compared to Saturday.

Frederick and Edwards say the Delta variant has contributed to a recent surge in COVID-19 admissions. In a recent report, the CDC says the highest proportion of Delta variant was detected in southwest Missouri, which accounted for nearly two-thirds of all Delta variants identified in the state.

The rising numbers follow a series of significant announcements over the past week tied to the local pandemic response.

  • On Monday, Mercy Springfield announced it ran out of ventilators and would acquire some from surrounding Mercy hospitals, including Northwest Arkansas and St. Louis.
  • On Tuesday, CoxHealth announced its sites in southwest Missouri would call for recruiting respiratory therapists and traveling nurses to help with rising cases.
  • On Wednesday, Mercy Springfield announced it would requiring all current and future workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • On Thursday, representatives from both health systems explained that surging COVID-19 case loads are draining resources and drawing out wait times in emergency rooms across the Ozarks.

Mercy Springfield and CoxHealth expect the COVID-19 response could become even more active in upcoming weeks. Mercy is opening a sixth COVID-19 unit, a decision which comes after the hospital only used five units during the height of the pandemic last year.

Edwards says, based on projections, CoxHealth could be treating 153-178 patients by the end of next week, which he notes is “likely well beyond our capability.”

As hospitalizations rise in southwest Missouri, so are COVID-19 cases. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department has reported more than 1,500 new COVID-19 cases since the start of July, including an average of 191 new cases over the last seven days.

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