Due to surging hospitalizations at Cox South, we want to prepare our community for the possibility that we may soon begin diverting some COVID-19 patients to other facilities throughout the state.
The health system currently has 79 inpatients with COVID-19, which is a more than five-fold increase from less than a month ago. The hospital is also experiencing an especially high census of more traditional summer and surgical patients.
We are dedicated to caring for all patients in the safest fashion possible. Given that other large cities in Missouri are not surging, their hospitals may have sufficient capacity and be able to help us care for our community in this surge, which is associated with the Delta variant.
Many factors are different today than they were a few months ago. During the last COVID-19 surge, CoxHealth employees were joined by hundreds of traveling nurses and respiratory therapists who were dedicated to caring for COVID-19 patients. Unfortunately, there now is a limited number of those individuals available. This reality is compounded by the fact that COVID-19 patients take a great deal of concentrated attention and specific expertise, requiring more staffing than other units.
We are committed to not scaling back our services, nor compromising our standard of care, which leads us to consider divert status at this time.
Going on divert status is not permanent. As patients are discharged from CoxHealth’s hospitals, it opens capacity for others to be treated locally. Given the fluidity of the situation, the health system might divert patients one day and not the next. When we are on divert, patients will be sent to facilities that have capacity at that time. These might include places like Kansas City or St. Louis.
If projections prove true, the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations will continue to dramatically increase in the coming weeks. We hope this won’t be the case. However, we continue to strongly encourage our communities to utilize the strongest tool we have against this surge: vaccination. Despite increasing hospitalizations, we are seeing very few people who have been vaccinated become critically ill. These vaccinations can be the line between life and death. To schedule a vaccination, please call 417-269-INFO.