CoxHealth Chairman Steve Edwards said Tuesday the Springfield hospital was in “COVID diversion” as the Delta variant gains momentum in the southwestern part of the state, where large swathes of residents are not vaccinated, Springfield News-Leaders reports.
He said four Cox patients were recently transferred to BJC HealthCare, a St. Louis area health system with 14 hospitals, including Barnes-Jewish, a large teaching hospital linked to the University’s medical school. from Washington. Four other Cox patients have been transferred to the St. Luke Health System in Kansas City, Edwards said.
Edwards cited internal data from Cox showing that 47 COVID patients were transferred to facilities in Cox from June 1 to 21, including many hospitals in small communities such as Lebanon and Mountain View, while 23 were transferred.
At the city’s other hospital, Mercy Springfield, patients have yet to be sent to major cities, President Craig McCoy said.
Dave Dillon, spokesperson for the Missouri Hospital Association, said one problem is that “hospitals are not as well staffed as they were during the outbreak” of COVID-19 infections last winter.
“Many have cut back on the agency’s expensive staff who then helped get through the months of high hospitalization,” Dillon told the News-Leader by email on Tuesday.
Many pandemic contracts between hospitals and temporary workers such as mobile nurses have expired, including a large state contract between Missouri and Texas-based healthcare staffing company Vizient Inc.
“These staff members are probably gone for their next internships,” said Dillon.
Another issue cited by health officials is the return of patients who need hospital care for non-COVID treatments.
“It’s fair to say that hospitals are already overburdened to meet pent-up demand for health services that were curtailed last year and into the spring,” Dillon said.
Patient transfers come despite vaccines being available free of charge within an 8.05 kilometer radius of their homes for more than 80% of Missourians, as Governor Mike Parson said on Twitter last week.
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Acting Director Robert Knodell said in a statement the agency was working with local and federal health officials and health systems to provide resources and analysis Datas.
“We continue to promote and encourage vaccination as the most effective mitigation measure the public can take to stop this virus in its tracks,” he said.
Dillon, with the Association of State Hospitals, said that because effective vaccines are now available, hospitalizations for COVID-19 are “largely unnecessary.”
Meanwhile, a COVID-19 outbreak has hit an office building for state employees in Jefferson City. The administration office said on Tuesday that 15 employees working in the Truman State Office Building had tested positive, St. Louis post-expedition reports.
“Due to this concentration of positive test results, more than 100 employees in this area and close contacts of infected employees have been offered COVID-19 testing,” said Chris Moreland, spokesperson for the Office of the administration, in an email. “Close contacts of infected employees in the affected area have been asked to work from home while awaiting the results of their tests. “
He said that although state employees were not required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the agency “strongly encourages people to do so because a COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective way to prevent contracting the virus ”.