Missouri sees surge in COVID-19 cases, with nearly 7% classified as the Delta variant – KOMU 8

MISSOURI The state of Missouri is seeing a dramatic rise of COVID-19 cases in the month of June.

Last week Missouri saw a 101% rise in cases, which led the country.

Health experts believe that the new Delta variant is a cause of the recent increase in cases.

"I think it's here," CoxHealth President and CEO Steve Edwards said. "We have a lot of admissions, our admissions have grown dramatically."

A Wednesday news release from the Department of Health and Human Services says Missouri is "experiencing a rise in individuals contracting the Delta variant. The variant was just reclassified as a "variant of concern" by the CDC on Tuesday.

CDC data says the variant accounts for 6.8% of cases of Missouri, which is the highest percentage of the variant in the nation.

Edwards said CoxHealth hospitals, which is based out of Springfield, went from 16 COVID patients three weeks ago to 61 patients Wednesday.

Counties in south Missouri are being hit the hardest by the recent surge of cases.

"We're seeing fast growth in Taney County as well, which is where Branson is," Edwards said.

The overall state positivity rate has gone from 3.9% to 5.9% in the last month.

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DHSS Acting Director Robert Knodell says the greatest concern across Missouri is in areas with lower vaccine uptake.

With this variant being easier to spread and possibly causing more severe illnesses among unvaccinated people of all ages, vaccinations are the best way to stop this virus in its tracks," Knodell said in a news release.

Edwards also attributes the surge to people who continue to not get vaccinated.

"It's as safe as a vaccine I think we've created," Edwards said. "If you choose not to get vaccinated you're putting yourself at risk."

Hospitals throughout Missouri are filling up and having staff issues due to the increase of cases.

According to Edwards, CoxHealth hospitals are experiencing similar issues to the ones they faced in 2020.

"Even though the COVID numbers aren't as high as they were, our overall volume is as high," Edwards said.

CoxHealth hospitals are also enduring extended ER wait times, pent up demand for people with deferred care and strains on staffing.

To combat staffing issues, CoxHealth hospitals are bringing in agency nurses for additional help.

"Every area that has low vaccination rates is at risk, which includes the majority of the South, and lots of the Midwest," Edwards said.

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Missouri sees surge in COVID-19 cases, with nearly 7% classified as the Delta variant - KOMU 8

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