COVID-19 cases, admissions continue to fall throughout the region | Local news
COVID-19 cases, admissions continue to fall throughout the region |  Local news

COVID-19 cases, admissions continue to fall throughout the region | Local news

Tthe highly contagious omicron variant continues to lose strength throughout the Joplin region, something top American infection expert Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted would probably happen in February.

Mercy Hospital Joplin officials on Wednesday reported 48 COVID-19 patients, with two patients on intensive care and one on respirator. This is a noticeable drop – just 16 days ago, Mercy reported 68 COVID-19 cases.

Freeman Health System officials on Wednesday reported a total of 22 COVID-19 patients with three patients in the COVID-19 intensive care unit, 15 in the medical COVID-19 unit, another patient in another part of the hospital and three more patients at Freeman Neosho Hospital. Two patients were on a respirator.

“Our numbers at Freeman have indicated that we peaked at the end of January,” said Jessica Liberty, Freeman’s director of infection prevention and control. “Our number has been steadily declining over the last few weeks – two weeks ago we had 69 inpatients; a month ago we had 57 – so you can see we were still climbing even a month ago and then peaked. “

This is positive news for local residents who have coped with both the initial COVID-19 virus and its variants while awaiting the long-awaited shift from pandemic to endemic.

“There’s been a lot of talk in the media about a shift to endemic, and it’s safe to say we’m definitely heading in that direction,” Liberty said. ‘How long it will take is hard to say. It will definitely take time and be a gradual process, and it will not be a light switch that is turned around to move to this new mindset. “

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other leading health organizations, she said, “will be the driving force behind this permanent shift.”

But as the delta and omicron variants have shown, it is never wise to fail its guard, even when the figures from the latest COVID-19 rise plummet nationwide.

“While I think we can safely assume that these measures have been more relaxed, we should always continue to take precautions,” Liberty said. “We all know the main rule: Stay home if you are sick, but how often, before the pandemic, did we really follow this? Going forward, we should all consider following this principle, which in turn helps us reduce all infectious diseases in general.”

The good news, she said, is that the country’s leading health experts “know that there must be widespread immunity – natural or vaccine-induced – before we enter endemic status. Again, knowing our COVID status at the national level will “help them drive these decisions; it’s on their radar.

Vaccinations, tests

On the vaccination front, the city of Joplin has 62.7% of the population, or 31,910 people, now fully vaccinated, and 70.3%, or 35,786 residents, who have begun the vaccination process, according to the state vaccine dashboard. Joplin is succeeded by St. Louis with 62%, St. Charles with 60.6% and Kansas City with 58%.

In Jasper County, 33.7% of the population is fully vaccinated, or 26,122 residents. Newton County sits at 31.1% fully vaccinated, or 15,902 residents.

Across the country, 63% of residents – or 3.42 million people – are fully vaccinated. In total, more than 8.4 million vaccines have been given.

Some sites that were opened in recent weeks due to an increase in demand for COVID-19 testing are closing or reducing services.

A test site of Ivy Medical in Galena, Kansas, is closed due to lack of demand, and a sister site in Webb City will reduce its opening hours to 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Tests sponsored by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and performed by NextGen Diagnostic Services in Joplin will remain operational from 6 p.m. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays in Central Christian Center parking lot, 501 S. Virginia Ave. and Joplin.

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