KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Southwest Missouri's two largest hospital systems reported 27 patients died this past weekend from COVID-19.
The region became the epicenter of an outbreak of the highly contagious delta variant in June, sending new cases and hospitalizations soaring again after a five-month reprieve after cases peaked in Missouri from November to January.
CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards said 72 people being treated at the health system have died in July from COVID-19, including 15 from Friday to Sunday. He said all of the individuals who died were unvaccinated.
I am sad to report that we have lost 15 more lives to Covid from Friday - Sunday at CoxHealth. We have lost 72 so far in July. All unvaccinated.
A vaccine is the best life insurance policy you can have right now, and it’s free!
— Steve Edwards (@SDECoxHealth) July 26, 2021
There have been 545 CoxHealth patients who have died from COVID-19 since mid-March 2020.
The majority of deaths — 373, or more than 68% — have been among people 70 years and older, but 25 people under the age of 50 also have died, according to a snapshot Edwards tweeted.
Erik Frederick, the chief executive officer at Mercy Health System in Springfield tweeted Monday morning that 12 patients at his hospital had died over the weekend from COVID-19.
140 COVID+ @MercySGF. Census down due to 12 deaths over the weekend. 60 total deaths since 7/2. This is very hard for our team. I said the same last year. The difference now is that most of this could be prevented. That adds an extra layer of anguish. https://t.co/eu5DSyomX0— Erik Frederick (@CAOMercySGF) July 26, 2021
Only one of the six surrounding counties where the most CoxHealth COVID-19 patients are from reports more than one-third of the population has completed a vaccination regimen — Greene County (35.8%) — according to data through Sunday from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
The remaining five counties report completed vaccination rates lower than 33% — Christian (32.8%), Webster (30.0%), Stone (28.2%), Taney (26.9%) and Douglas (16.2%).
CoxHealth operates six hospitals in southwest Missouri, including three in Springfield — Cox North, Cox Medical Center South, and Meyer Orthopedic and Rehabilitation — along with Cox Barton County in Lamar, Cox Medical Center Branson and Cox Monett.