Freeman sees drop in covid-19 hospitalizations


JOPLIN, Mo. — Covid-19 numbers continue to drop at a Joplin hospital – a trend that medical experts say shows promise.

The Freeman West campus is nearly down to single digits in its covid-19 beds. It’s a dramatic difference from the peak of hospitalization numbers.

Paula Baker, Freeman President and CEO, said, “I’m pleased to report that today we have a total of 10 covid patients hospitalized with only one in the more intensive unit so that is a definite improvement.”

From an earlier peak of 66 patients hospitalized. Freeman experts credit the trend to pandemic protocols and the increasing number of patients getting doses of the vaccine. But they add it’s still early in that process.

Dr. Rob McNab, Freeman Covid-19 Services, said, “I think we got allocated 50,000 for the state of Missouri, which is a lot of vaccine but there a lot of people in Missouri.”

Availability of the vaccine is still limited, and hospital leaders are also monitoring the supply of equipment to administer those shots.

Jeff Thompson, Freeman Chief Clinical Officer, said, “One of the things we’re seeing now are syringes and needles – we do get a shipment of syringes and needles with shipments but they’re not always the most ideal things to give injections with.”

And they add the pandemic is far from over.

“What we’re doing is working. It’s not like the virus has left town and forgotten about us. I don’t think we can say we’re out of the woods until we reach herd immunity,” said McNab.

They would like to see 50% to 70% of patients with the vaccine as a potential range for herd immunity. When we’ll get to that point isn’t clear yet. They are urging everyone to get the shot, and continue pandemic protocols like washing hands and wearing a mask.

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