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.
115 COVID+ @MercySGF. Running almost 50 vents now. We are expanding to 2nd COVID ICU and a 2nd step down. Physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists are tired. Heck everyone is tired. Travel RN’s coming this week. Physician support being arranged. If you’re a RT, call us.— Erik Frederick (@CAOMercySGF) July 5, 2021
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.