Joplin hospital officials concerned over rising Covid-19 cases

JOPLIN, Mo. —“I think we all were very very hopeful that we had got around that curve, and we weren’t gonna have this level of the disease again, but unfortunately, it has returned with a vengeance,” said Paula Baker, President, and CEO of Freeman Health System. 

Freeman Health System officials are warning the public of another Covid-19 case surge in the Joplin area

They say during the current surge of Covid-19, the population of those being hospitalized is much younger than what was seen during an uptick in cases last winter.

“The age of our population of Covid in patients is going down. Now we’re into the teens at times,” said Dr. Robert McNab, with Freeman.

Over at Mercy Hospital in Joplin, they’re seeing a similar pattern.

“The winter wave in November, I guess we didn’t have kids, didn’t see that. But we are starting to see children test positive this time around,” said Jeremy Drinkwitz, President of Mercy Hospital in Joplin.

Most new hospitalizations at Freeman are occurring in the unvaccinated.

“So currently inpatient 57, active Covid patients are in the healthcare system are right now being treated. 92% of them are unvaccinated completely,” McNab said.

Mercy is seeing the same, which is why they urge anyone still on the fence, to get their shot.

“The numbers are clear, ninety-four percent of the patients we have in the hospital are unvaccinated…if people could step back and have a different motivation for vaccination then just that they don’t like it…the numbers prove it here at this hospital vaccinations work,” Drinkwitz said. 

Those in the hospital that are vaccinated, have been able to leave sooner.

“Most of them have been significantly less severe, and don’t require as long hospitalizations.”

This is why officials urge anyone unvaccinated, to do so as soon as possible.

“We have to get as many people vaccinated as possible, that’s the only exit out of the pandemic, we have to get to herd immunity,” McNab said.

Mercy hospital has a vaccine clinic open Wednesday through Fridays from 8:00 am-4:00 pm on a walk-in basis.