COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
One-third of all people living in Boone County hospitalized with COVID-19 since the pandemic began were admitted in October, according to a county health official.
The analysis from the Columbia/Boone County Department of Health and Human Services shows that 53 of the 153 county residents that went to the hospital with COVID-19 went this month.
Boone County has steadily set records for the number of people in county hospitals this week. The health department reported 99 people hospitalized on Friday, which includes both people who went to the hospital specifically for COVID-19 complications or who went to the hospital for another reason and tested positive for COVID-19 while there.
Assistant health department director Scott Clardy said Friday that the hospitalizations could be a sign of COVID-19 cases becoming more severe.
"We've seen more severe cases in Boone County in October than we've seen in the rest of the months leading up to it," Clardy said. "It's a point that I think is important to make as we move into colder weather and especially the holidays."
Hospitals reported 25 of the 99 hospitalizations needing help in an intensive care unit, down from Thursday's 33 patients. Eighteen ventilators, a machine hospitals to use to help some patients breathe, are currently in use.
Local leaders told ABC 17 News on Thursday that they felt confident hospitals have enough space to handle COVID-19 patients. Mayor Brian Treece said he worried about the strain growing hospitalizations may put on hospital staffing.
The department reported 14 Boone County residents currently in the county's hospitals for COVID-19. Clardy said the growing number of out-of-county patients needing help in Boone County may reflect Boone County's greater access to health care services.
"I would say a larger percentage in Boone County have access to [health care] than people in rural counties, and that can also lead to more severe cases," Clardy said.