4-State area oxygen concerns

An Oxygen Tank


As the Coronavirus rages on and the Delta variant continues to put people in the hospital, many southern hospitals in states like Florida, Texas, South Carolina, and Louisiana are running low on oxygen.

Joplin’s Mercy Hospital says that while their oxygen use has roughly tripled in the last 6 to 8 weeks, Mercy and its suppliers can handle the increase.

“We’ve seen a significant climb in the amount of oxygen usage, but as far as deliveries, and shortages, and any notifications from the suppliers who are monitoring us regularly, we don’t see any concerns,” said Mercy Joplin’s Vice President of Operations, Michael Herr.

Hospitals like Mercy may be able to handle the increased oxygen demand, but smaller operations like Kansas Medical Supply in Columbus, Kansas are feeling the pinch. They provide at home and portable-use oxygen tanks, and manager Christal Blake says they’ve had to cut back on the number of tanks they can provide to customers.

“We do the home fill where they fill the tanks themselves at home, and where we would originally take four or five tanks for them to fill, we’re now taking like three,” said Christal.

Christal says the demand for oxygen tanks wasn’t always this high, but the Delta variant has forced Kansas Medical Supply to both ration and order more tanks.

“Now we are having more cases in this area, to where when it first came out we didn’t have a whole lot of requests for oxygen. But we have more requests for oxygen with the (Delta) variant and increased cases in our area,” said Christal.

Mercy says the majority of their COVID patients dealing with severe illness are unvaccinated, and they recommend getting the shot so you don’t find yourself gasping for air.