COVID-19 still in forefront

November 18, 2020


Lamar Democrat

“In three weeks southwest Missouri will be overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases”, was the prediction of CoxHealth President and CEO Steve Edwards during a conference call held Monday, Nov. 16. The call was held regarding the surge in area cases of COVID the last few weeks. Edwards explained how CoxHealth is continually coming up with a new contingency plan as evidence of the disease progresses. He also stressed that CoxHealth medical staff in all of their facilities are working heroically during this time.

Edwards pointed out that the rate of growth is worrying and expressed the desperate need to “mask up” during this time as according to him, masks are proven to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Edwards believes that its existence is easier to ignore in rural areas; however, at this time 70 to 75 percent of hospitalized patients come from rural areas.

CoxHealth has been extremely aggressive since the onset of COVID-19, creating added beds and an open wing approach in the newly constructed facility in Springfield. Springfield CoxHealth, in response to the growing cases of COVID-19 cases in Missouri counties, has built a dedicated COVID-19 ICU unit. A large amount of financial support was provided by the State of Missouri, as well as donations from individual businesses and organizations.

Although Cox Barton County Hospital is certified as a critical access hospital, they too have seen their share of COVID patients, just not on as large a scale or on a consistent basis.

Edwards stated that at this time all CoxHealth hospitals that are handling COVID patients are at capacity level. CoxHealth has six hospitals, more than 80 physician clinics, five emergency departments, a Level 1 trauma center, walk-in clinics and urgent care facilities, including 24/7 urgent care in Springfield. Hospitals and emergency departments are located in Springfield, Branson, Monett and Lamar.

At the end of the call, Edwards stressed that one’s behavior is the primary means of controlling the disease and reiterated the importance of wearing a mask. If not for yourself, then for others. After all, we’re all in this together.