A major hospital system serving southwest Missouri reported caring for a record number of COVID-19 patients over the weekend.
At CoxHealth, 180 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Saturday, a record that crept even higher on Sunday with 187 patients, according to Steve Edwards, chief executive of the hospital system.
Most CoxHealth patients are cared for at Cox South in Springfield; the system also has hospitals in Branson, Lamar and Monett.
Just eight weeks ago, CoxHealth was caring for 28 COVID-19 patients, Edwards said. The previous record was 170, set in early January before vaccines became widely available. Deaths are also on the rise.
The latest surge is due to the more infectious delta variant, which began taking hold in southwest Missouri in early June. A majority of patients are unvaccinated.
Other southwest Missouri hospitals also continue to see patient numbers higher than those seen last winter.
Mercy Springfield surpassed its record number of patients on July 4, with 116 patients, and has since mostly remained above 130, even reaching as high as 155.
Mercy Joplin eclipsed its record on July 14 with 62 patients and reached its highest number yet on Saturday with 81 patients, hospital officials said.
In the St. Louis area, public health and hospital officials have warned that numbers here are on a similar trajectory as seen in the Springfield area.
The latest data from the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force from Friday shows the average number of new COVID-19 patients admitted to St. Louis-area hospitals each day has reached 62 after dropping as low as 16 on June 18.
Over the previous seven days, an average of 361 COVID-19 patients were in the local hospitals each day, up from 113 on June 18.