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27 COVID deaths at SW Missouri hospitals this weekend means ‘extra layer of anguish’

·2 min read

Correction: The 27 patients who died were at two health systems in southwest Missouri. An earlier version of the story said two hospitals.

Twenty-seven people at two southwest Missouri health systems died over the weekend from COVID-19.

Fifteen of the patients were at CoxHealth, president Steve Edwards posted on social media. None of them were vaccinated.

They ranged in age from 34 to 86, CoxHealth spokeswoman Kaitlyn McConnell said.

The health system has hospitals in southwest Missouri including Springfield, Branson, Monett and Barton County.

Twelve patients were at Mercy Springfield, chief administrative officer Erik Frederick said.

“This is very hard for our team,” Frederick posted on social media. “I said the same last year. The difference now is that most of this could be prevented. That adds an extra layer of anguish.”

Southwest Missouri has been overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases, driven by the more transmissible delta variant and low vaccination rates. The state has 40.8% of its population fully vaccinated, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Last week, the state sent ambulances, staff and other resources to Springfield and Greene County as hospitalizations continued to overwhelm the health care system.

The New York Times lists three counties — Douglas, Taney and Wright — in southwest and south-central Missouri in its top 10 list of jurisdictions with the highest rate of new cases in the past seven days.

With a 76% increase in cases over the past 14 days, Missouri ranks fourth in the nation for the highest rate of cases, The Times reported.

An increase in cases prompted St. Louis to reinstate its mask mandate. Effective Monday, masks are required in indoor public places and on public transportation, regardless of vaccination status.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said Sunday that a mask mandate was not necessary right now, but urged people to get vaccinated.

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