KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson says some officials at Springfield hospitals are trying to find someone to blame for a large increase in COVID-19 cases in the region.
Officials at Springfield's two largest hospitals have been publicly warning the public that the delta variant is causing a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The increase prompted Springfield officials to cancel a popular Route 66 festival scheduled for mid-August. And last week, Mercy health care officials said it would require employees at all its hospitals to be vaccinated by late September.
Parson said Tuesday that health officials should encourage people to get a COVID-19 vaccine, but should not try to scare them into doing so.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on Thursday issued a coronavirus advisory for several southwest Missouri counties, including Greene, home of Springfield. Those counties all have low vaccination rates, including just 18.4% in Newton County.
The Missouri Hospital Association, in its weekly COVID-19 update, calls the situation in southwestern Missouri “dire” and says signals for the rest of Missouri are “foreboding.”