Joplin hospitals see Covid-19 infection surge

JOPLIN, Mo.– Joplin hospitalizations are reaching levels seen before vaccines were even available, with more patients in critical care than before.

“We have more patients on ventilators at this time than we previously did,” said Donna Stokes, Infection Disease Preventionist at Mercy Hospital.

So what’s changed, and why are we seeing this surge?

“There’s probably two predominant reasons,” Stokes said. “Number one, it’s the delta variant and it’s more contagious. So with that one being the one that is circulating that increases our numbers. The other unfortunate reason is that we do not have a high percentage of our population vaccinated.”

Currently, Mercy Hospital is seeing 58 Covid patients. Over at Freeman Health Systems, they’re seeing about the same, with 50 Covid patients including their Neosho Hospital.

“Our situation here at Freeman Health System is very reflective to what other hospitals are seeing statewide as far as seeing a significant jump in our Covid in patients,” said Jessica Liberty, Infection Prevention Manager at Freeman Health Systems.

With new Covid strains, health professionals are in a whole new ballpark.

“We have the presence of various strains that are more contagious they are present with different symptoms–symptoms that you may be not necessarily would see as the classic covid symptoms. they’re presenting differently and people are not social distancing they’re not masking like we were even 6 to 8 months ago.”

Which is why being vaccinated is the best way to stop the virus from spreading further.

“To me, it’s a no-brainer, go get vaccinated,” Liberty said.

One woman has been using social media to get the word out about vaccines after seeing cases rise in her community.

“I’ve put my phone number out on Facebook for people to just call and you know I’ve transported a lot of people to go and get vaccinated that’s how important it is and I think that every single person that is vaccinated if you can do the same thing put your number out there let people contact you, friends and family go with them hold her hand whatever it takes,” said Nanda Nunnelly-Sparks, Lab Director of NextGen Diagnostic Services.

To her, even if she can only change one mind, it’s worth it.

“And convince one person what a huge difference we can make in our southwest Missouri area. And right now we need to make a difference,” Nunnelly-Sparks said.