WEBSTER COUNTY, Mo. — As COVID-19 cases start to slow in other parts of the United States, Missouri is seeing one of the largest spikes in COVID-19 cases. The Ozarks have now become one of two hot spots in the state.
In Webster County last week, 120 cases of COVID-19 were reported compared to only seven in May. Doctors are blaming the Delta variant as the Health Unit looks for ways to ramp up vaccinations.
“I honestly thought 3 or 4 months ago that we had this thing beat. And here it is back again,” said Dr. Sam Alexander, an ER physician at CoxHealth.
“I’ve seen several people in the last two weeks that are very ill from it, and the only thing that they had in common was that they weren’t vaccinated,” said Marshfield Physician Dennis Robinson.
Only 27% of Webster County residents are fully vaccinated, and the COVID-19 number is trending nearly the same as the peak of the pandemic.
Currently, there are 23 Webster County patients are in Springfield hospitals.
“We make up about 4% of the population catchment area, and Webster County makes up about 15% of their admissions,” said Scott Allen the administrator for Webster County Health Unit.
Local doctors and the health unit are blaming the Delta variant and by random sewer sampling, it was confirmed that Delta is dominant.
“Week after week after week it’s here,” said Allen. ” It may have arrived in the area stopping to get gas and then they infected somebody who infected 6 other people who infected 6 other people and we haven’t been able to stop it.”
Robinson says the symptoms he is seeing are harder to pinpoint.
A lot of the people coming in thought they had allergies, but then we test them and they have COVID,” said Robinson. “They didn’t think they were that sick, but they have diarrhea and stomach aches, feel terrible.
This thing could stick around for another year and keep running through our people unless we achieve heard immunity,” said Alexander.
Alexander says getting the COVID-19 vaccine is the only key to winning the battle of COVID-19.
This upswing, it’s going to cause deaths,” said Robinson. “There’s going to be people you know that are going to die because you are not vaccinated.”
Clinics in Webster County are offering vaccines seven days a week and have started going to people’s homes to give the shot.