Springfield will not need an alternate care site for COVID-19 patients, says health department

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Springfield-Greene County Health Department and the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management withdrew their request for an alternate care site for COVID-19 patients.

The health and emergency management officials agree that the state’s efforts to boost health care will be enough to meet the area’s needs.

“The Delta variant remains a very serious concern, and our response efforts continue across Missouri. The rapid setup of a state-operated infusion center and deployment of ambulance strike teams are relieving the strain on our health care system. We applaud these public servants for their tireless efforts and remind everyone to take COVID-19 seriously. Vaccinations are free, readily available, and the best way to combat this deadly disease,” says Governor Parson.

Statistics released by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Thursday show that while cases of COVID-19 in the area are still high, the number of cases has dropped by 24 percent in the last 7 days.

Springfield-Greene County Health Director Katie Towns says that the reason is not the falling case numbers or a smaller number of hospitalizations.

“In fact,” says Towns, “on Thursday alone 267 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, which is the second-highest number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in a single day to date.”

The alternate care site is no longer immediately needed because of area health care providers hiring additional staff and repurposing existing space for COVID-19 patients, according to Towns.

“This has been a tremendous team effort in every sense of the term,” Robert Knodell, the acting Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services said.

SEMA director Jim Remillard added that the work the state team accomplished is “tremendously important” in the state’s COVID-19 response.

A statement from Mercy Hospital in Springfield says that the COVID-19 response teams learned more about the needs of the community during the last few weeks and found the need to be for more staff rather than more space for COVID-19 patients, “As we all learned through the process, the need was more about staff than space. Mercy has brought in more caregivers for its hospitals in the Ozarks and will continue that effort so we can serve our community as effectively as possible.”

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