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Springfield-Greene County Health Dept. updates COVID-19 hospitalizations, testing

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 10:36 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2022 at 7:05 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Springfield-Greene County health leaders shared updates on COVID-19 cases in the Ozarks.

The Omicron variant surge is still going strong in the Ozarks but healthcare officials are hoping that we’ll soon be turning the corner.

”While our daily case count has started to slow and show early signs of a possible plateau, our current rate of cases-per-day is still far greater than at any time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Springfield-Greene County Health Director Katie Towns.

Towns was talking about the current seven-day average of 716 new cases-per-day which is down from the all-time high of 771.

But that is high enough to put a strain on the healthcare system.

“This week we have seen a significant increase over last week,” said Mercy President/COO Brent Hubbard. “Today we’re at 166 patients in our care. We’ve all heard that Omicron is just a cold. That is not the case. In fact this month we’ve had 50 deaths across Mercy Springfield.”

“Yesterday we had an all-time high of 195 COVID-positive patients in our system,” said CoxHealth President/CEO Steve Edwards. “Today we’re at 183. It’s calmed down slightly. It is disappointing to say we’ve lost 24 patients to COVID in the last seven days. None were vaccinated.”

“Sadly we are also reporting an additional 10 deaths from COVID-19 in Greene County today,” Towns added.

The deaths in January included a man and woman in their 30′s, two men in their 40′s, and two men and a woman in their 50′s.

The number of new cases is skewing younger as well.

National data shows that 21 percent of the total new cases in three days of January were in the 0-17 age group. That was the highest percentage of all demographics with 18-29 year-olds at 20 percent and 30-39 at 18 percent. The percentage keeps dropping as the ages increase with 60-69 year-olds at seven percent and those older even lower.

“While disease-spread may occur more in children and maybe be less severe, it does cause a whole community to be impacted,” Edwards pointed out.

Towns also said at the Wednesday media briefing that research shows people who are not vaccinated are 16 times more likely to be hospitalized and 49 times more likely if you’re an unvaccinated person with underlying health conditions.

“And if you got vaccinated before August 26, 2021, it is time to get a booster dose,” she said.

As to the big question of how much longer the Omicron surge in the Ozarks will last?

“We do expect over the next 7-10 days to experience a continued increase in our COVID inpatient volume,” Hubbard said. “So that peak (is expected) to be over the next 7-10 days.”

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