BRANSON, Mo. — It’s been 480 days since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the state of Missouri. However, not much has changed for health professionals since the numbers of COVID-19 have surged in June.
When the pandemic started members and businesses in the community would send cards or buy lunch for local lunches to show appreciation to those on the frontlines. However, leaders from CoxHealth in Branson are asking for more help.
“It’s really tough to keep the spirits up because not only are we dealing with the pandemic, but we’re still dealing with the nursing shortages,” said Adene Smith, Director of Nursing at Cox Branson. “We have six covid beds here. All six have remained steadily full in the last month.”
Smith says her team is working day and night as Southwest Missouri becomes the nation’s hotspot for the Delta variant.
“People are dying,” said Smith. “They’re dying every day. They’re still dying. Covid is not gone. It’s still here. We’re surging in this community. In the state of Missouri, this is one of the biggest surge areas right now. And the majority of them are unvaccinated and they’re coming in sicker.”
“And they become like family members to us, so to watch somebody deteriorate and possibly die is very stressful and very traumatic on all of the workers,” said Michelle Cole. Cole is a nurse manager for the critical care unit in Branson.
When the pandemic first started, health care workers were heroes,” said Cole. “We were there to help save you and we were greeted as such.”
However, Cole hasn’t felt that same community support in several weeks.
“I think now that tide has turned, and rather than have any of that, we would rather people get vaccinated,” said Cole.
According to the Taney Count Health Department, only one in four residents of the county is fully vaccinated.
“I think a lot of people don’t think it’s real unless it happens to them personally and our hope is that, that doesn’t happen and the only way for that not to happen is for people to get vaccinated,” said Smith.
Medical professionals on the front lines are asking for a community show of support. Smith says you don’t have to buy anything, but if you see a medical worker just show them a little support.