Robin Trotman, the best infectious disease specialist at Cox’s Hospital in Springfield, said a change in the COVID-19 case in the area was causing him to lose sleep at night.

At that time last year, patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were usually older with underlying health conditions.

Now, Trottman said, hospitals in the Springfield area are seeing more young, formerly healthy people suffering from severe pneumonia associated with COVID-19.

“We have some intensive care units that are starting to fill up and look a lot different than they did a year ago,” Trotman said. “These patients are younger, they were healthy before. They are not terribly overweight or are diabetic or over 90 years old.

“And I don’t have a good explanation for what exactly these people got sick of.”

The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in the CoxHealth system jumped to 48 on Tuesday after being in their teens in recent weeks.

Trotman said the common denominator among hospitalized patients at Cox was that they were not vaccinated.

Trotman said the virus has become stronger with the advent of more variants, but the available COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and effective over months of use.

Still, southwestern Missouri lags behind the country’s average vaccination, and Trotman said the choice has become quite simple: get vaccinated or you’ll eventually catch COVID-19.

And Trotman said he could no longer reassure young, healthy people that they would not become seriously ill with COVID-19.

“Every day for the last two weeks, I’ve been surprised by the severity of the disease in these young, healthy people,” Trotman said. “Go ahead, I don’t think we have an option. You’re a sedentary duck. If you’re not immune to this virus, you’ll get 100 percent sure. Or you can get this vaccine.”

Mercy Hospital also said there were 45 patients with COVID-positive patients at Springfield Hospital on Tuesday, three at Mercy Aurora Hospital and four at Mercy’s in Lebanon.

The recent rise in Springfield’s COVID-19 cases has been on the heels of the city government, which is repealing the mask’s mandate.

Asked if the city had moved too quickly to cancel the mask’s mandate, CoxHealth President and CEO Steve Edwards said he did not want to be critical of city leaders who have to strike a difficult balance between maintaining human safety. while working to return to normal.

In the end, Edwards said the most important thing was to get more gunshots.

“If we’re all vaccinated, we really don’t need masks,” Edwards said.

Edwards said health professionals fight against misinformation and politicization when it comes to the vaccine, and he encourages anyone who has questions to contact local hospitals or the health department.

Katie Towns, acting health director of the Springfield-Green County health department, also held a press conference encouraging people to get vaccinated, saying 142 new cases of COVID-19 had been reported on Tuesday in Green County.

Cities have said that COVID-19’s more aggressive Delta option (also known as the India option) has made its way to Springfield and may have something to do with the recent jump in cases.

“The most effective tool against these options, all of them, is the vaccine,” Townes said.

Cities said that even people who had previously received COVID-19 and developed immunity should receive the vaccine because public health experts are not sure how long natural immunity lasts.

For more information and how to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in Springfield, visit

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