EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been corrected to say the current Boone County hospitalization total is the second-highest of the pandemic.
COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Coronavirus hospitalizations have reached an all-time high in Missouri, hitting 1,443 on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Boone County has 76 hospitalizations -- including 40 reported by University of Missouri Hospital and 16 reported by Boone Hospital Center. Like the statewide figure, Boone County's is the second-highest of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local health authorities reported 77 hospitalizations on Oct. 2.
Mary Becker, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Hospital Association, said these high hospitalizations are "obviously concerning."
"At this point it really depends on the availability of ICU beds to determine if that would have an effect on where you go after that or if you have to transfer patients to another facility," she said.
Becker said Missouri is not at that rate yet, but with numbers fluctuating daily she doesn't know what number would cause Missouri to enter that situation.
"I can't give you a number that would tip that over the edge since that's a daily change, with patients getting discharged and admitted," she said.
Becker said the way to get in front of the rising hospitalizations is to continue wearing a mask, using social distance and not gathering in large groups until there a vaccine is distributed widely.
The MU Health Care Associate Chief Medical Officer, Mark Wakefield and Becker said people relaxing their concern for COVID-19 is driving the increasing numbers of hospital patients.
Wakefield also said the increasing hospitalizations have been affecting staff all across the nation.
"We have always been tight on staffing so this adds some additional strain to the system," he said.
Becker said Missouri is experiencing a concerning spread of COVID-19 in rural parts of the state. These areas have less capacity for intensive care beds.
Becker said the hospital capacity levels statewide are in good shape.
"We have a third of the medical surgical beds available statewide and in the intensive care we still have a lot of capacity and the same holds true with ventilators," she said.
However, Becker said individual organizations and hospitals could have their own capacity issues.