CoxHealth treating record number of COVID-19 patients, CEO says hospitalizations could stabilize in upcoming week

Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 11:52 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 1, 2021 at 11:06 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - CoxHealth entered the new weekend treating 182 COVID-19 patients across its sites, which marks a new record since the start of the pandemic.

For the second straight day, CoxHealth reported a new record in COVID-19 patients. As of Sunday, CoxHealth facilities are treating 187 patients.

The new record comes after weeks of rising cases in Springfield and the southwest Missouri area. New COVID-19 cases in Greene County have dropped by 19% compared to the previous seven days, according to public health data. However, the county is also reporting a seven-day rolling average of 181 new cases, numbers comparable to January 2021.

Steve Edwards, the health system’s president and CEO, says CoxHealth was treating 28 patients around eight weeks ago. CoxHealth sites has also reported 446 deaths around that time. Since then, the health system reports more than 100 new COVID-19 deaths across its sites.

Edwards projects CoxHealth’s numbers heading into the weekend are in the middle of the range for what their hospitals could see over the next seven days.

“Part of the factor we used to forecast is a rolling seven-day new cases. That is stabilizing some,” said Edwards during a news conference Friday. “That does cause our projections to level. We are still preparing for the possibility of being well over 200, but at this point our projections call for leveling about where we are.”

Edwards says CoxHealth’s projections could change due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant. He says the hospitals are prepared for more patients, but space is really tight right now.

Earlier this week, Springfield agencies withdrew a request to the state for an alternate care site, intended to help with an overflow of patients seeking hospital care for COVID-19.

Katie Towns, Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director, says the alternate care site was no longer an immediate need due to the action local hospitals took after weeks of rising cases. The state has also provided resources, such as ambulance strike teams and COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment sites, to help southwest Missouri with its COVID-19 situation.

Edwards, Towns and other health experts encourage vaccinations for those eligible who have not yet been fully vaccinated.

“Please consider vaccinating as a civic responsibility, to protect others, to protect children, to protect our community,” said Edwards.

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