Springfield City Council will consider extending the current road to the recovery phase on October 5. The extension of three months would cover the face protection. Phase 3A will expire on October 1
Council members heard from health leaders in Springfield on Tuesday.
CoxHealth’s President and CEO, Steve Edwards, said there were 82 COVID-19 patients in the COVID unit in Cox South as of Tuesday.
“It’s like a war zone there right now,” he said. “It’s packed.”
To date, 675 COVID-19 patients have been admitted to CoxHealth and 74 deaths have occurred. Many who were admitted to Cox with the disease come from outside Greene County. On average, about 30 percent of patients live in Greene County at both Cox and Mercy, Edwards said.
And it is not just the elderly who become seriously ill. Edwards said there is currently a 20-year-old college student in a ventilator in their ICU who had not responded to treatment.
He is concerned that people may hear that those who died had underlying conditions, and that may lead them to believe that they are safe from serious COVID-19 complications.
“I think people are starting to think it’s because they have some kind of super-compromised immune system,” he said. “The most common underlying condition is obesity, followed by high blood pressure and prediabetes … and I suspect that more than 2/3 of our population is suffering from these problems right now.”
According to Edwards, they do not have the capacity yet, but Cox leaders have considered closing the hospital for transfers from hospitals in rural areas.
“We’re really close,” he said.
Mercy Springfield Hospital’s president and COO, Brent Hubbard, said he is also worried about reaching capacity – especially as flu season approaches.
He and Edwards are both concerned about having enough staff to care for patients. Cox currently has 98 employees who are unable to provide services at this time because they are in quarantine. At Mercy, there are 89 employees who cannot work because they are in quarantine.
Many patients at both Cox and Mercy come from outside Greene County. As of Tuesday, Hubbard said there were 16 counties represented among COVID-19 patients at Mercy.
There are currently more COVID-19 patients at Mercy Springfield than at any other Mercy hospital, according to Dr. Will Sistrunk, infectious specialist at Mercy.
They and Springfield-Greene County Health Department Chief Clay Goddard encouraged the council to extend Phase 3A. They said they would like to see a mandate across the country in place. Springfield Mayor Ken McClure agreed that masks would be required in Missouri. Councilor Craig Hosmer suggested pushing harder for a state mandate.
Edwards said Springfield is an island in a sea of communities that does not require residents to wear masks, and they see the effects of that.