The Delta Variant has really impacted rural area hospitals


BARTON COUNTY, MO – COVID-19 has been tough on everyone, especially rural hospitals.

“I think the community doesn’t understand the downstream effects from what this is causing for the rural hospitals.” Says Heidi Clark, Cox Barton County Chief Nursing Officer.

With more people getting infected with COVID-19, staff at rural hospitals like Cox Barton County are seeing a negative impact on being able to care for patients.

“We are not able to trans rout to our intensive care unit, our higher levels of care because they are full. Their ICU’s are full, their COVID units are full.” Clark says.

Because of this, they’ve had to transfer patients as far as Kansas City, Texas, and even Iowa.

But with many hospitals experiencing full COVID units, Clark says sometimes they have to wait for another patient to pass away before being able to transfer one of their own.

“It is very sad and difficult for families and patients, you know, to understand that that’s sometimes what we’re waiting on to be able to transfer them.” Clark says.

While it can be difficult for families to take that in, it’s been just as difficult for nurses caring for patients.

“Unfortunately we’ve even seen staff that have left the nursing profession since COVID has hit because it is so emotionally draining.” Clark says.

While the stress level is high for Cox Barton County staff, Clark says this can all be resolved with the poke of a needle.

“We can’t stress strongly enough that you know, help yourself, help your community, help your front line staff that is working extremely hard to care for you when you do come in and get vaccinated.” Clark says.

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