Joplin hospitals share COVID-19 trends

JOPLIN, Mo. – Missouri’s COVID-19 dashboard has a new look and new data after a backlog in reporting.

Across Missouri, in August, the state had zero days with more than 1,000 admitted COVID-19 patients. Fast forward to September, and 15 days were marked with more than 1000 coronavirus-related hospitalizations.

Locally, numbers continue to fluctuate.

“Currently we have around 25 patients hospitalized. That’s been fairly steady for the last few weeks, a little bit of an increase this month from August. September, we noticed a little bit of an increase that’s sustaining into October right now,” said Donna Stokes, Infection Preventionist for Mercy Hospital in Joplin.

“We have 24 hospitalized covid patients. Now, the good news in that is only six of them are in the most acute unit, so that means the remainder are not as ill. Those numbers are not our peak. Actually, our numbers have gone down in the last few days, so we’re glad that we’re not following that statewide curve,” explained Paula Baker, President and CEO of Freeman Health System.

Mercy averages about eight to 10 COVID-19 patients in the ICU per day. It dealt with its highest spike of covid-related hospitalizations last week with a total of 30 patients.

32 is the most Freeman has seen in a single day, but both hospitals say they have the ability to adapt to serve more people if necessary. Mercy and Freeman are also reminding the public to practice good hygiene, social distancing, and to wear a mask.

“If people will take the measures that we’re asking, that’s gonna prevent those hospitalizations and that’s honestly what we’re striving for. We don’t have an unlimited number of nurses, we don’t have an unlimited number of supplies so we have to be good stewards and try to maintain our staffing, maintain our supplies for the patients with the more severe disease,” said Stokes.

Both Freeman and Mercy are also concerned about seeing more hospitalizations appear as we move deeper into flu season.

“It’s that time of the year. You need to protect you and your loved ones, so be sure to have that conversation and get a flu shot if that’s indicated,” advised Baker.

Missouri had a daily average of 904 hospitalizations in August and the average went up to 1,004 in September.

The state added a total of 34,588 cases in August and a total of 41,416 cases in September, the highest monthly increase on record.

Deaths went up by 93% from August to September, for a total of 304 in August and a total of 588 in September.