SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Cox South reopened its dedicated COVID-19 unit and the reason is due to the hospital’s current regular ICU being full with eight COVID-19 patients. The opening is also for potential new COVID-19 patients the hospital may see over the weekend.
“We haven’t had a lot of people in the hospital that’s been fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Robin Trotman, Infectious Disease Specialist. “We just haven’t.”
Despite an increase in hospitalizations in Springfield, leaders say they are not concerned about being overwhelmed. What leaders are concerned about is what’s causing it.
“It was not a surprise to us,” said Brent Hubbard, President of Mercy Springfield. “We expected a slight increase from where we were just given the different variants.”
“The ability to transmit that 117 virus is much easier,” said Dr. Trotman. “It’s almost as if you needed 10 drops of cough to get on you before, and now you only need one drop. So, it’s important for people to understand that’s probably the explanation for some of this. Some of it, I think, is really people just waiting too long to come in.”
President of CoxHealth Steve Edwards says traveling and more people being out and about is causing a rise in cases. He also says many people are coming in during the later stages of being infected with the virus. Edwards was adamant about saying that the main defense is getting vaccinated and that a majority of the people being admitted to the hospital are those who did not take the vaccine.
Dr. Trotman added the patients in the ICU have not been vaccinated.
“If you’re reluctant to take up the vaccine, you’re probably reluctant to do the same mitigation strategies, probably reluctant to seek medical care because of either lack of insight or just denial of the severity of the virus,” said Dr. Trotman.
Edwards tweeted that the hospital has 26 COVID-19 hospitalized patients.
Edwards also added that the new COVID-19 variants are thought to be 60% more infectious and 60% higher mortality.
“A simple vaccine will prevent severe disease,” Edwards said.
The COVID ICU at Cox South was vacated in mid-February due to a low number of COVID-19 patients.