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More Missourians in hospitals with COVID-19 as state begins monitoring for omicron

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been modified to correct errors and remove a video.


Hospitalizations in Missouri have been on the rise over the last few weeks as new coronavirus cases trend upward.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 1,272 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and 34% of inpatient and outpatient bed capacity left as of Saturday, the most recent data available. Intensive care units have 24% of capacity remaining, with 309 COVID-19 patients being treated in ICUs statewide.

Those numbers have been on their way up since mid-November after a fall lull, coinciding with increased cases in Missouri and other states. Health experts have warned of the potential for another surge as temperatures cool and people spend more time inside.

The state health department reports 73% of ventilator compacity left.

That trend largely holds true in Central Missouri, but with a dip in hospitalizations over the last few days. Total hospital capacity in the region is 46%, with 39% of intensive care beds available.

However, hospitalizations in Boone County jumped 10 over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Officials have urged diligence after the discovery of a heavily mutated new variant in South Africa. According to The Mirror, hospitalizations increased by 330% in South Africa, where the omicron variant was first detected, over the last two weeks.

Missouri's health department said Tuesday that it will monitor coronavirus samples submitted by health care providers to detect the omicron variant, which has not been found in Missouri. The department has also partnered with University of Missouri researchers to monitor variants in sewage systems around the state.

Experts say the best way to fight the new variant is widespread vaccination.

Nearly 6.5 million first and second doses have been administered in Missouri and more than 600,000 people have received a booster shot. However, the rate of positive tests continued its increase Tuesday.

Vaccinations had been trending upward statewide before the Thanksgiving holiday, but most of them are booster shots. Missouri's vaccination rate continues to lag behind the country as a whole with only 51% percent of the state fully vaccinated.

Kennedy Miller



  1. “According to The Mirror, hospitalizations increased by 330 percent in South Africa where the omicron variant was first detected.” But the Mirror does not indicate they were COVID admissions. Curious.

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