Ventilator shortage as Missouri virus hospitalizations spike

Posted at 8:15 PM, Jul 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-05 21:15:41-04

MISSION, Kan. — The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients jumped by nearly 27% over the Fourth of July weekend in a hard-hit area of Missouri where immunization rates are low, leading to a temporary ventilator shortfall and a public call for help from respiratory therapists.

The Delta variant, first identified in India, is spreading rapidly, straining hospitals in Springfield, and raising fresh fears that the situation could soon grow worse as holiday gatherings seed fresh cases.

Erik Frederick, Mercy Hospital Springfield chief administrative officer, said in a tweet Monday that more than 115 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19. Nearly 50 of those patients are on ventilators, he said.

Mercy Hospital Springfield will add a second COVID-19 intensive-care unit, according to Frederick, and traveling nurses are expected to arrive this week.

On Sunday, Frederick said on Twitter that the hospital ran out of ventilators.

Missouri leads the nation with the most new cases per capita in the past 14 days.

41 Action News contributed to this report.