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Hospitals seeing worst cases of COVID-19 in unvaccinated as omicron surge presses on


Doctors say the omicron variant continues to pose a serious health threat to people not yet fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

According to Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services, unvaccinated or partially unvaccinated people account for 88% of COVID-19 deaths in Missouri. Just 0.03% percent of people who are fully vaccinated have died from the virus in Missouri.

Health experts nationwide are urging people to get vaccinated, saying that this is the safest way to protect themselves from developing severe illness from the virus.

"Not implying any blame or anything, but the ones who end up in the hospital tend to be not vaccinated. Probably more than 90% of people that end up sick enough to be in the hospital are not vaccinated. Those who end up dying are not vaccinated," Dr. Robin Blount with Boone Health said earlier this week.

Boone Hospital isn't the only facility experiencing an uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations for people who aren't vaccinated. Cole County health leaders said Thursday that a large number of patients who end up in the hospital with the coronavirus are unvaccinated.

Dr. Randall Haight with Capital Region Medical Center said Thursday that cases are at the same levels as the last peak in November 2020. Haight says 75% of patients being admitted for COVID-19 are unvaccinated and 95% of patients that have died during the latest surge were unvaccinated.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 and intensive care admissions for virus patients are at record highs in Missouri.

MU Health Care is also urging people to get vaccinated. According to its most recent COVID-19 data, out of 111 COVID-19 patients, 67 are unvaccinated. Thirty-two people are currently in the ICU with COVID-19 and out of those patients, 24 are unvaccinated. And the virus is sickening staff, further straining hospitals' ability to care for the sick.

"You know I think the most important thing for people to understand is that staffing is problematic right now," MU Heatlh Care Dr. Laura Hesemann said Thursday. "It's problematic for everyone. For all health care facilities. Hospitals everywhere are full because of this strain of omicron. I think the two most important things continue to be, just like they've been throughout this pandemic, are people need to get vaccinated. It's not too late to get vaccinated. The vaccine is effective against omicron and preventing hospitalizations and preventing deaths."

Omicron has shown a heightened ability to infect fully vaccinated people, but studies show those people don't get nearly as sick from the virus as the unvaccinated. According to DHSS, the percentage of total infections that were breakthrough cases on the week of Jan. 9 is now up to 46%.

Boone and Callaway counties are now Nos. 1 and 2 in the state for most new infections per capita, according to state data. Cole County is fifth.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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Kennedy Miller


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