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KSMU is dedicated to broadcasting critically important information as our community experiences the COVID-19 pandemic. Below, you'll find our ongoing coverage.

COVID-19 Is Stressing Healthcare Systems, Staff In Greene County

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The leaders of Springfield’s two healthcare systems detailed the heartbreak their staff are dealing with as the delta variant of COVID-19 continues to impact people in southwest Missouri. 

At a press briefing Wednesday, Mercy Springfield COO Brent Hubbard read a blog written by an employee in one of their COVID ICU’s.  She shares what she sees patients go through as they struggle with COVID and finally get to the point where they have to be intubated.

"'They have one last phone call,'" he read. '"We have to tell them their chances of coming off the ventilator ever are small.  We have to tell them this might be the last time they ever speak to their family members and loved ones.  We have to tell them it is now or never.'"

Steve Edwards, president and CEO of CoxHealth, told those who would threaten nurses in their grief and anger to instead direct their emotions at him.

While the seven-day average of cases in Greene County is down and Edwards is hopeful for the future, he said this may be the most horrifying stage of this disease for his staff.

"Yesterday we lost a 23-year-old young woman to this disease," he said.  "It's a somber reminder of the very painful reality of this disease.  And our staff grieves and feels the pain along with the family for their loss, and I believe our staff will carry these losses, for some of them, the rest of their life."

He said they’re using 5.3 million liters of oxygen a day right now—about five times more than this time last year.

They’ve seen 605 people die of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, and 35 of those deaths have been since August 3rd.  He said almost all could have been saved if they’d had the vaccine.

Find out where to get a vaccine at vaccine417.com or call (417) 874-1211.