Health leaders say COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations continue to surge in Greene County

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – The Springfield-Greene County Health Department has reported more than 1,500 new COVID-19 cases since the start of July, noting that cases and hospitalizations from the virus have not slowed down recently.

Health leaders reported 194 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, increasing the county’s total to 1,548 cases since July 1.

According to the health department, Greene County reported a 73% increase in new cases over the past week. Health leaders noted there was a 38% increase in new cases during the previous week.

“This surge is not slowing down and it cannot be ignored,” said the health department in a tweet Saturday.

As of Saturday, Greene County reports a seven-day rolling average of 191 new cases. Health leaders reported 276 new cases Friday, a daily total the health department says it hasn’t seen since January 2021.

More than 200 COVID-19 patients are being treated in Greene County hospitals this weekend. Mercy Springfield and CoxHealth, two of the larger health systems in southwest Missouri, are treating a combined 232 COVID-19 patients as of Saturday.

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.

The COVID-19 Delta variant is believed to be one of the driving factors behind the recent surge. 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.

“This week we spent more time than we have just trying to communicate what we’re seeing so that it might help someone see there is a way to prevent all of this,” said Springfield Greene County Health Department Assistant Director Katie Towns. “And help other communities prepare by getting people vaccinated now before this variant shows up.”

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department reports more than 3,100 active COVID-19 cases as of Saturday, accounting for nearly 10% of the county’s total since the pandemic began. Less than 40% of Greene County residents are vaccinated, per county records.

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