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Wait times for healthcare could be longer at Springfield hospitals as COVID-19 cases rise

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As COVID-19 cases surge in Greene County, demand for care at hospitals, which are already near capacity, will be even greater.

Amanda Hedgpeth, president of Springfield hospitals at CoxHealth, said COVID cases are up sharply at a time when their facilities are already busy.

"Our hospitals, our emergency rooms, our urgent cares and our primary cares are operating at near capacity," said Hedgpeth.

As COVID numbers trend upward, she said, the public may see longer wait times for care. Emergency rooms are busy, and Hedgpeth said they’re asking people to seek healthcare in alternate ways. Those include virtual care, primary care or using Save My Spot to schedule an appointment at a walk-in or urgent care clinic.

"We will always have our doors open. We will always continue to care for patients, but wait times will be longer as a result," she said. "And, as always in emergency rooms and urgent cares, those patients that are sickest go to the line first. It's not a matter of who came in first goes to the front of the line, it's really who's sickest and who needs our resources the quickest."

As of Wednesday, there were 124 COVID-19 patients at Cox, and the healthcare system had seen a 31 percent jump in COVID patients in the last week.

Craig McCoy, president of Mercy Springfield Communities, said they’re seeing a similar situation at Mercy, but he said they’ll be able to treat anyone who seeks care.

On Wednesday, Katie Towns, director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, said they’re “seeing the beginning of what will be the worst surge yet.” She predicts the county will have upwards of 1000 cases per day on a seven-day rolling average at the height of the surge.

She encouraged people to get their vaccines, including boosters. Find out where to get one at vaccine417.com.