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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 Claims 27 Lives At Springfield Hospitals Over The Weekend

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City of Springfield
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The director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department said the county is in the middle of a crisis.  Katie Towns told Springfield City Council at its meeting Monday 27 people died over the weekend at CoxHealth and Mercy.

She said they’re still gathering information about those who died, "but what I can say tonight is that this variant is doing exactly what we expected and impacting people across all ages more severely than our original strain did during the surge in the winter, and, while there are cases of severe illness among those who are vaccinated, they are rare.  This pandemic is now among those who are unvaccinated.  Anyone that is not vaccinated is at risk for severe illness that could require hospitalization."

The surge caused by the delta variant doesn’t show signs of letting up anytime soon, according to Towns.

As of Monday morning, there were 254 people hospitalized in Springfield with COVID-19, and 101 were in critical care.  She said the numbers are down some from last week, in part due to people dying.

Springfield council member, Angela Romines, questioned Towns at length last night and challenged the effectiveness of masks and the safety of the vaccine.

"It's a new vaccine, right?" said Romines.  "We don't know what it'll do in two years."

Towns responded, "it's still being studied."

"We don't know what it'll do in 10 years," Romines said.

"The science is not new though," said Towns.  "I just want to make that clear.  The science on this vaccine is not new."

"Correct," said Romines.  "But we don't know what it will do to a person."

Towns disagreed with Romines' suggestion that the COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe.  She encouraged citizens to talk with trusted healthcare professionals about their concerns. 

Councilman Matthew Simpson said the pandemic is now one of both disease and misinformation and he urged people to not take medical advice from those on the council podium.

"Our hospitals are full and beyond capacity, in fact, right now with people who are victims of both a deadly disease and victims of misinformation being spread by people in positions of leadership and influence using their platforms in a way that is really harming people."

Councilman Craig Hosmer said people shouldn't judge others for their decisions.  But he said, "the sad part about this is there's overwhelming evidence from every reputable health institution worldwide that says these vaccinations are effective, they're safe, and they will stop COVID."  He blamed social media for helping spread misinformation.

Councilman Abe McGull suggested that council and the health department should look at parameters for reinstating a mask ordinance in the city.