SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – With a total of 34 COVID-19 patients dying since Friday in Cox (19) and Mercy (15), this is a morbid topic that no one really wants to talk about.
But the severity of the Delta variant surge in the Ozarks makes the subject come up.
It is not just the processing facilities that need to be expanded.
“We have seen an increase in demand for our mortuary,” said CoxHealth President and CEO Steve Edwards. “Last year we made it bigger and we’re expanding it even more. We actually brought in wearable technology that allows bodies to be cooled down to a location outside of the morgue. So we had to expand that because mortality has increased so much lately. “
Cox’s current mortuary can hold 15 bodies with the additional space holding up to a dozen more.
But with things set to get worse before they get better, that might not be enough if current trends continue.
“We have had over 4,000 admissions for COVID and with 539 deaths, that means 13 and a half% of our admissions have died,” Edwards pointed out. “When we look in our intensive care, about 40 percent of our patients are not doing it. So we certainly see the seriousness of this disease and that motivates our interest in expressing how serious this disease can be. “
Mercy had no figures available on the limits of her mortuary.
“We have a mobile mortuary, but we haven’t activated it yet,” said Brent Hubbard, president and chief operating officer of Mercy. “But we can expand with the mobile mortuary if necessary. Hopefully we don’t have to. But in the past four days we’ve had 15 deaths (in Mercy), which is a worrying number. This death toll leads the family, friends and neighbors of our patients to create a very difficult situation. It also creates a very difficult situation for our workforce.
The ages of the victims are getting younger (four recent deaths were two people in their 30s and two in their 40s) and virtually all are not vaccinated.
“Please take the time to get the vaccine,” Hubbard pleaded. “Please spare your family the heartache we see in our hallways every day. “
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