Mercy Springfield Running Out of Ventilators, Rising Patient Numbers Force Expansion to Second COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Mercy Springfield treats more than 100 patients for COVID-19, and the hospital is running out of ventilators.

As of July 5, the hospital was reporting more than 115 hospitalizations related to COVID-19. Mercy uses around 50 ventilators, according to Mercy’s executive director, Erik Frederick.

As a result, the hospital is bringing in ventilators from surrounding Mercy hospitals, including northwest Arkansas and St. Louis.

“St. Louis, Northwest Arkansas and Oklahoma City Mercy hospitals are not seeing the COVID outbreak that we are seeing. We are grateful that they are there to provide us with additional support, ”said Frederick.

As of June 5, Mercy Springfield has received 14 ventilators from surrounding hospitals and is immediately putting them into service.

“We put one directly into service, and we have about 14 pending at the moment. When we look at our census of 115 patients, about 85 of those patients are currently on some sort of mechanical ventilation rack. It’s pretty scary, ”Frederick said.

Forty-nine patients are currently on ventilation at Mercy, and 25 of them are COVID-19 patients, according to Mercy.

“We are moving to the 2nd COVID intensive care unit and a 2nd step down. Doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists are tired. Heck, everyone is tired. Travel RN is coming this week. Medical support is organized. If you’re an RT, give us a call, ”Frederick tweeted.

Recently, patient overflow has also been a problem. Mercy Springfield sends COVID-19 patients to Kansas City for treatment.

On July 4, the CEO tweeted, “I spent the night looking for ventilators because we were running low. 47 ventilated patients. A lot of them are COVID, but not all of them, ”Frederick said.

Cases are higher than they were in the winter, and hospitals are increasingly seeing situations where a ventilator is needed.

“Over the weekend, we hit the 115 case mark. We are beyond the numbers we saw in the initial winter surge. This time it’s different because we use a lot more mechanical ventilation for our patients, ”said Frederick.

KY3 contacted CoxHealth, another major healthcare system in Springfield and southwestern Missouri, to see if they were having this issue as well.

CoxHealth Vice President of Clinical Services Ashley Kimberling Casad told us they are seeing a huge increase in the number of COVID-19 patients, but they still have enough ventilators as they have accumulated a large supply at the over the past two months.

“We saw around 95 to 105 COVID patients for about two weeks. As of June 5, we were down to 35 patients, so that’s a pretty extraordinary increase from last month, ”Kimberling said.

Right now, at CoxHealth, 35 ventilators are in use and 47 are currently open, according to Kimberling.

CoxHealth is starting to see this unvaccinated group. According to Kimberling, 50 of the 56 COVID samples they recently sent to the state were the Delta variant.

The delta variant, according to the CDC, targets younger age groups and has more intense symptoms and spreads faster than anything we’ve seen before.

Health officials told us that the increase in patient numbers is due to the Delta variant and a low population of people vaccinated in southwest Missouri.

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