(Missourinet Springfield television partner KOLR-10 contributed to this story)

Springfield’s mayor and hospital leaders and employees there are renewing their call for a statewide mask mandate. They held a Friday afternoon press conference.

The Missouri National Guard assists at a COVID-19 testing site in Callaway County on November 17, 2020 (photo courtesy of the governor’s Flickr page)

Mayor Ken McClure, a Republican who served as chief of staff to former Governor Matt Blunt, says that while guidelines are fine, people are not following them.

Mercy Hospital Springfield registered nurse Wanda Brown agrees, saying Springfield hospitals are overwhelmed.

“At Mercy Springfield, we now have four COVID units, one of which is our dedicated COVID ICU. All of our units are continually full and are becoming overwhelmed,” Brown tells reporters.

The state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) says there are currently 2,817 COVID patients in Missouri hospitals, an increase of 83 from Friday. DHSS says 646 of those COVID patients are in the ICU, and 336 are on ventilators.

DHSS says there have been 24,570 new COVID cases in the past week, an average of 3,510 per day.

Ms. Brown says Mercy Springfield is running out of room for both COVID and acute patients.

“I know we have all heard statements made of how hospitals are not overwhelmed, and our ICU’s are not full. But this is untrue and it is misleading and I think it provides a false sense of security for our community,” says Brown.

Missourinet Springfield television partner KOLR-10 reports CoxHealth leaders also spoke at Friday’s press conference. You can read KOLR-10’s story here.

As for Governor Mike Parson, he told Missourinet last week that while he’s opposed to a mask mandate, he has and continues to urge you to wear a mask. He’s been promoting a program called the “Show Me You Care” campaign, which emphasizes the need for you to wear a mask, to wash your hands, practice good hygiene and to social distance.

During that interview with Missourinet, Governor Parson emphasized that the next 30 to 60 days are crucial. His administration has issued a statewide public health warning, due to the spread of COVID across the state.

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