'New day, new record': Missouri hospital out of ventilators as COVID-19 surge intensifies — 8 things to know Monday

Springfield, Mo.-based Mercy Hospital ran out of ventilators July 4 as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations spike in southwest parts of the state, according to a tweet from Erik Frederick, chief administrative officer at the hospital.

"New day, new record," Mr. Frederick tweeted, reporting 116 COVID-19 patients at the hospital July 4. 

Eight things to know about the area surge: 

1. Average daily COVID-19 cases in Missouri have climbed 51 percent over the past two weeks, with an average of 16 daily cases reported per 100,000 people, according to The New York Times. 

2. As of July 1, 37 states have higher COVID-19 vaccination rates than Missouri, according to CDC data. Statewide, 39.16 percent of the state's population is fully vaccinated. "There's something that you can do that's easy, free and accessible to help stop this, and we're not seeing that get traction in our community," Mr. Frederick told NPR July 3.

3. The White House announced the launch of "surge response" teams to stop the spread of the delta variant, first identified in India, in COVID-19 hot spots. The CDC has already prepared a team to deploy to Missouri.

4. The intensive care unit at Mercy Hospital is full, Mr. Frederick told NPR. "It looks very much like it looked last year," he said, "exception being we do have younger patients in the ICU than what we saw last year." 

5. Mr. Frederick attributed the hospitalization of more, "younger, otherwise healthy patients," to the delta variant, which is now the most commonly circulating strain in the U.S. "And, yes, it's the delta variant that's making them sicker."

6. On July 4, Mercy Hospital "spent the night looking for ventilators because we ran out. 47 patients on vents. A lot of those are COVID but not all," according to Mr. Frederick's tweet. The hospital is getting more ventilators from nearby health systems.

7. Other Missouri hospitals are reporting similar COVID-19 trends, with Springfield, Mo.-based CoxHealth hospital going on diversion in late June. "If you are making wildly disparaging comments about the vaccine, and have no public health expertise, you may be responsible for someone's death. Shut up," tweeted Steve Edwards, CEO of CoxHealth.

8. "We're not post-pandemic," Mr. Frederick told NPR. "Let me take you upstairs to the sixth floor and to the fourth floor and the fifth floor, and I will show you we're not out of this yet… just over the last week, we've had 13 patients die in this hospital from COVID."   


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