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Delta COVID-19 variant dominating southwest Missouri, drawing national attention

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 5:04 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Southwest Missouri is making national news for leading the nation in high COVID-19 hospitalization numbers.

Leading that pack is a new variant putting pressure on local hospitals. As of Tuesday, 155 are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Springfield. That’s up 121 people from just three weeks ago.

“This variant is definitely more contagious and I think it can lead to some, more severe illness,” William W. Sistrunk, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Mercy Hospital says.

The Springfield Greene County Health Department is warning the delta variant moves quickly and spreads twice as fast as the original.

“You’re racing against time with this Delta variant, to get everybody, as many people vaccinated as possible,” Dr. Sistrunk says. “Before we continue to have more and more cases.”

Mercy says they have felt the impact on their hospitals as numbers continue to increase of those hospitalized with COVID-19. Mercy says they are working hard to keep up and hope the community will do its part as well.

The Greene County Health Department said there is absolutely a correlation between our low vaccine numbers and the spread. The vaccination can help slow those numbers and offer less severe side effects. Symptoms are similar to the original COVID-19 variants, but doctors are saying they are more severe and come on more quickly. It also seems to be impacting a wider variety of ages.

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