KSMU Coronavirus Coverage

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A statewide vaccination incentive program is underway in Missouri.  Governor Mike Parson announced the launch of MO VIP on Wednesday.  It’s meant to encourage vaccination among Missourians 12 and older, according to a news release from his office.

Springfield continues to be in the national spotlight at COVID-19 cases, fueled by the delta variant, continue to rise.

The city’s mayor, Ken McClure, appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation over the weekend.

He said one reason for the surge is that Springfield is a regional hub that brings in people from the area, and that has increased its exposure.

And he said another major reason for the surge is misinformation spread largely by social media.

Michele Skalicky

Missouri State University is planning various ways to help lower the risk of contracting COVID-19 when school starts back up next month for the fall semester.

The Delta Variant Thrives in a State of Political and Public Health Discord

Jul 21, 2021
Missouri Capitol
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ST. LOUIS — The day after Missouri Gov. Mike Parson finished his bicentennial bus tour to drum up tourism to the state in mid-July, Chicago issued a travel advisory warning about visiting Missouri.

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Younger people are being impacted especially hard by the latest surge in coronavirus cases in southwest Missouri.

The acting director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department Katie Towns said Tuesday they had just reported the death of a 26-year-old who died at home of COVID-19.

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The latest surge in COVID-19 cases in Greene County is prompting more people to get vaccinated.

According to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, 40% of Greene County residents 12 and older have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In the last seven days, 4,371 vaccines were administered at clinics hosted by the health Department and other community partners-–the highest since May 23, the health department said in a news release.

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Jordan Valley Community Health Center is offering free walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics in five cities in southwest Missouri.

You can get a vaccine through the health center Monday through Friday at these locations:

In Springfield:

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The delta variant of COVID-19 is pushing Springfield hospitals to the limit.  There were 231 patients at CoxHealth and Mercy on Wednesday, and 103 were in critical care, many on ventilators.  At Mercy, there were 37 in the ICU on Wednesday, and 35 were on ventilators.

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Local health departments in southwest Missouri, where COVID-19 vaccination rates are low, continue working to encourage people to get the shot.  That’s as cases of the illness continue to increase. 

Nearly half of all Americans--48.1 percent—have been vaccinated against COVID-19.  But some counties in southwest Missouri have yet to hit the 20% mark.  

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U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri, is encouraging people to get the COVID-19 vaccine as cases continue to rise in the state.

Speaking at the weekly Republican leadership press conference Tuesday, Blunt said vaccines are the key to fighting COVID mutations.

"You need to get vaccinated even if you think you don't have an individual problem we've got to stop having places for the virus to begin to mutate, to begin to develop a different variant," he said.

The U.S. should share the vaccine with other countries, Blunt said.

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Mercy Springfield, like CoxHealth, is dealing with a surge of COVID-19 inpatients.

Mercy spokesperson, Sonya Kullmann, said the high during the last surge was 113 patients on December 28.  Last Sunday, they hit a peak of 137 COVID patients.  And she said they’re seeing younger patients who are getting sicker more quickly, and they don’t all have co-morbidities.  Mercy is also seeing an increased need for oxygen.

CoxHealth / File Photo

CoxHealth is reporting soaring numbers of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, putting a strain on staff as the delta variant moves from person to person in an area with low rates of vaccination. 

According to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, 98 COVID patients are in critical care across hospitals in Greene County, passing the previous record of 58 in November. The total number of hospitalized COVID patients was 227 as of Tuesday.

The COVID-19 surge in southwest Missouri fueled by the delta variant is having a signifcant impact on area hospitals.

CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards said Monday they’re currently seeing a 34 percent symptomatic COVID-19 positivity rate.

He wrote on Twitter his hospital had more than 125 COVID inpatients on Monday. 

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An annual fall festival in Springfield will not go on as planned because of a surge in COVID-19 cases in southwest Missouri due to the delta variant. 

The Birthplace of Route 66 festival had been set for August 13th and 14th.  It was not held last year because of the pandemic.

Springfield city manager, Jason Gage, said the festival’s steering committee made the right decision to cancel it again this year.

Michele Skalicky

Update:  City of Springfield spokesperson, Cora Scott, said 156 people got vaccinated against COVID-19 at the clinic Monday at James River West. 

Original Story:  More than 60 percent of Greene County residents 12 and older still aren’t fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  Clinics being held this week at James River Assembly of God campuses in the Springfield area and in Joplin are aimed at lowering that number. 

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