The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a declaration that a public health emergency still is in existence related to COVID-19. The previous declaration was set to expire July 19. The renewal will be effective for 90 days, or until Monday, Oct. 18. MHA will continue to monitor the impact of the renewal related to current and future waivers.
- Disease Management
Missouri’s Delta Variant Trajectory
Throughout the last week, hospital leaders from across Missouri have shared their experiences with the ongoing surge of hospitalizations driven by the Delta variant of COVID-19. The warnings from hospital leaders in Springfield to their colleagues have been particularly stark. Be prepared, they say, because Delta moves quickly through communities and through infected patients, with the progression to severe illness requiring ventilation or resulting in death occurring much more rapidly than with previous variants of the virus, and among younger patients. To illustrate their point, last year on March 9 after the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Missouri, it took nine months for hospitals in the Southwest Region to reach 500 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. This year, between mid-May and July 14, it took less than two months for the region’s hospitals to increase from 86 to more than 500 patients, an increase of 509%.
New COVID-19 cases precede hospitalizations and deaths. Reviewing data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services case reporting system suggests that other regions of the state soon will share the Southwest Region’s early experience with unvaccinated patients hospitalized with Delta, which now is widespread throughout the state. The Central Region, for example, added 276 cases per 100,000 residents last week – exactly where the Southwest Region was just two weeks prior. Reports from the state suggest shortages of personal protective equipment and beds are not as much of a constraint this year as is staffing, with traveling respiratory therapists virtually impossible to find. Hospitals across the state should begin preparing for a second surge and expect increased rates not previously experienced during the pandemic.