SW Missouri COVID cases, delta variant has hospital staff stretched

If you live in southwest Missouri, hospital executives say acquiring a severe case of COVID-19 could now mean a stay in St. Louis or Kansas City, as the global pandemic that has killed 3.9 million people continues to stretch Missouri hospital staffing toward what one statewide association recently called a “breaking point” in its 2021 workforce report.

A handful of Springfield-area patients are already being treated hundreds of miles away in the state’s two biggest cities, the leader of CoxHealth confirmed Tuesday morning.

Springfield-area COVID cases up 44 percent in two weeks

The news comes as Delta variant COVID-19 infections are surging in southwest Missouri, even as large swaths of residents have opted not to take advantage of vaccines shown to prevent or lessen the impact of the disease by providing immunity.