SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KMIZ)
Federal surge teams are in Missouri to help with the rising cases, low vaccination rates, and the spread of the Delta variant.
On Monday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent support to the state and Springfield-Green County Health Departments which both asked for help. The epidemiologist's goal is to help with genetic sequencing, data analysis and other support for one month.
Another CDC official is currently providing remote support to the Missouri Chief Bureau of Immunizations to help with local vaccine hesitancy and drive up vaccination rates. That person will also be assigned to help until Aug. 6.
Even though the surge team plans that have been released don't include going door-to-door, Gov. Mike Parson tweeted about the federal help asking them not to compel citizens at their homes to get the shot.
"I have directed our health department to let the federal government know that sending government employees or agents door-to-door to compel vaccination would NOT be an effective OR a welcome strategy in Missouri!" Parson said in the Tweet.
The most recent data shows 189 COVID-19 patients are in Green County Hospitals right now and only 39.3% of the county's population is fully vaccinated.
Emily McMichael, a nurse at Mercy Hospital Springfield said this the situation is dire.
"This is the absolute worst that I've ever seen it," McMichael said. "These patients are, are a lot sicker, and a lot younger than what we saw, the last go around, so it's just really sad to see. And a lot of the population is unvaccinated that we're seeing as well so we are just, you know, pleading that everybody get their vaccine."
DHSS issued a hotspot advisory Wednesday for Camden, Miller and Morgan counties. Health officials expect the surge in cases in the southwest to spread to the Lake of the Ozarks area and forecasted the counties' COVID-19 rates to more than triple in the coming weeks.
DHSS expects more team members to be added to the surge teams in the coming weeks, both remotely and in-person to help with data and research, vaccination strategies, and outreach.