Springfield first responders working to help those in need despite COVID-19 cases increasing

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Local hospitals are being spread thin while the COVID-19 cases increase.

Vicki Good, the Emergency Trauma Center director at Mercy, said certian departments have gone on diversion and forced open has been a common occurrence since the pandemic began.

“What that means is at that point in time, we are full and can’t accept any more emergency response vehicles coming to our facility,” said Good. “Springfield’s in a very unique position with only two hospitals so what happens is if one of us goes on diversion, then obviously most of those ambulances go over to the other facility and that puts a strain on the other one’s resources so what frequently happens is what we call a category called forced open.”

Because both hospitals are overrun with COVID-19 patients, Mercy and Cox South have gone on emergency room forced open before.

“That means we both exceeded our capacity to take care of patients but in that situation, then we have to do the best job we can to care for those patients in our community,” said Good. “We are stretched thin, but we are still giving the highest level of care possible.”

Along with the hospitals, The Springfield Police Department announced it closed its lobby to the public because of staffing and COVID-19.

“This week we had to shut down the lobby of our main police station due to a number of exposures along with the fact that our staffing numbers on our civilian workforce, our police service representatives are extremely low right now,” said Chief Paul Williams, with the Springfield Police Department.

Williams asked people to be patient while civilian staff is lower than usual and Springfield police will still be responding to calls and investigation crimes.

“Rest assured we are still ready willing and able to respond to any emergency call or 911 call for service and investigations of those violent crimes that occur,” said Williams.

According to Williams, the department is hoping to have more information later about when the lobby will be back open. While the lobby is closed, people are asked to file police reports online or over the phone by calling 417-864-1810.

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