Some of Missouri’s largest hospitals are getting an increased number of COVID-19 patients from rural communities. During a briefing Thursday in Springfield, Gov. Mike Parson says he met with CoxHealth in Springfield to talk about some of the challenges the southwest Missouri hospital is facing.

Gov. Mike Parson

“Areas like Springfield are seeing a lot of patients transferred in from smaller hospitals and surrounding communities – putting additional stress on systems like Cox,” says Parson. “During our meeting, we talked about empowering rural hospitals and equipping them with the tools to care for more COVID-19 patients, which would help relieve some of the stress on our largest hospitals. We are looking into ways that we might do this.”

According to Kansas City Public Radio, Kansas City area hospital leaders say admissions there are reaching near all-time highs because of patients coming from rural areas. In the past two weeks, some hospitals in that region have had to stop accepting ambulances and patient transfers from other places for periods of time due to capacity problems.

A Kansas City area hospital nurse says many rural area COVID-19 patients are arriving in critical condition because they did not receive adequate treatment early on in their community. Around 68% of Missouri counties lack intensive care units. Many rural counties don’t even have a hospital, let alone an ICU.

KCUR says Missouri has the eighth highest number of hospitalized patients in the country. About 1,500 individuals with the virus are being treated in a Missouri hospital.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Service’s COVID-19 dashboard, Northwest Missouri’s remaining hospital bed capacity is at 28%. As for the Kansas City region, the state says it has about 39% of its beds available. The number of intensive care unit beds available statewide ranges from 28% to 41%, state data says.

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