Missouri health officials are concerned about COVID numbers

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Missouri state health officials are warning COVID cases are soaring in rural parts of the state, including the Lake of the Ozarks.

The Lake of the Ozarks is under a hotspot advisory for COVID cases.

Governor Parson says the health care system is stable.

Cox Health in Southwest Missouri disagrees.

“We’re in a crisis and in that crisis things change very very quickly and we really are seeing a significant escalation in our number of patients in our hospitals.” Says Dr. Shawn Usery, Chief Medical Officer, Cox Health in Springfield.

Missouri reporting more than 1500 new COVID cases Friday.

“We’re seeing a significant surge in patients in our medical surgical COVID units as well as our COVID ICUs and that surge continues to grow everyday as we look a week ago, we’re up 11% from a week ago. We’re at 106 patients today.” Says Dr. Usery.

With Missouri making national headlines as the delta variant spreads like wildfire, Dr. Usery is worried.

“I do not think I would describe it as stable, no. Our nurses are getting tired of zipping up body bags.” Says Dr. Usery.

The state’s epidemiologist Dr. George Truablidize expects to see more cased in the coming weeks before there’s improvement.

“We are heading towards wide spread infection with the Delta virus but because we have communities with different levels of vaccinations the impact of this infection spreading in the state will not be the same in all communities.” Says Doctor.

Dr. Usery is concerned about staffing.

“We have plenty of beds, we have plenty of ventilators right now, we have lots of PPE, we just don’t have staff. And the staff we do have is tired.” Says Dr. Usery.

The problem: People not getting vaccinated.

“If you look at the people admitted to our hospital with COVID pneumonia, 98 percent of those are unvaccinated.” Says Dr. Usery.

“If we do not vaccinate most of us as a society, we can never stop this virus.” Says Doctor.

The state has a $5,000,000 media campaign running through September to promote vaccines.

And Missouri is working on an incentive package for those who get it.

No details yet on how it would work.

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