COVID-19 and vaccine updates
For the first time since July, our COVID-19 ICU unit at Cox South is empty. The milestone was cause for celebration and a sense of relief. We saw a continued easing of COVID-19 volumes this week with 48 hospitalized patients, from a high of 170 earlier in our peak. Symptomatic testing rate is down below 10%.
Vaccines: On the vaccine front, weather was affecting vaccine distribution across the country. Vaccine expected at CoxHealth this week did not arrive as scheduled, so our community vaccination clinic scheduled in Springfield over the next few days at The Meyer Center have had to be re-scheduled. Patients are being notified of the changes. Community vaccination clinics at other CoxHealth locations in southwest Missouri are not affected.
Employee data: After vaccinating nearly 7,000 employees with at least one dose of vaccine, some encouraging data points are emerging about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines at CoxHealth. So far in February, there have been a total of 14 new COVID-positive cases among employees, or approximately one new case a day. That compares to November and December, prior to vaccinations, when we were having a peak of 15 new cases a day. Of the 14 new cases so far in February, none is among employees who are fully vaccinated, defined as being 14 days out from your second dose. No fully vaccinated employee has been hospitalized due to COVID-19 since vaccinations began. So far in February (as of Feb. 16), 17 employees are out on leave of absence due to COVID. In January, there were 242. We have convincing evidence the vaccine dramatically reduced COVID-19 infections in staff, and thus far it has prevented severe illness and hospitalizations among our health care team. We hope to see more employees become vaccinated in the coming days and weeks to provide greater protection for our team, patients and our community.
From a comment on CoxHealth’s Facebook page: Thank. You. CoxHealth. Thank you for providing clear and factual COVID-19 information for the Ozarks. Thank you for having an organized, easy to use vaccine registration system. Thank you for immediate responses through messaging. Thank you for the follow up call from an actual human! Thank you for having enough employees available to quickly schedule vaccines, and then promptly sending a confirmation email. Your organization and the people in it have done, and continue to do, a fantastic job.”
Thank you for caring for our community,