JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.
The director of the health department said the state is continuing to monitor Missouri's hospital capacity, which is currently "stable."
The state has seen a steady increase in positive cases of COVID-19, as well as hospitalizations trending upward. The governor said the state reported about 931 hospitalizations Tuesday because of COVID-19, which is just about 50 under the peak in May at 984.
Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services Dr. Randall Williams said the increase in hospitalizations has not yet strained the system, but more increases combined with hospitals taking on more elective surgeries could cause problems in the future.
He said since many procedures were postponed during the statewide shutdown, hospitals are telling him they are seeing a large volume of non-COVID-related stays.
"That's a phenomenon they are witnessing," Willams said. "I guess they would say it's a good problem to have that people have quit postponing surgery."
ABC 17 News asked Williams at what point would he be concerned about the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. He said the department looks at hospital capacity "holistically," monitoring both COVID and non-COVID related stays.
"At end of the day, what we’re most interested in is beds, ICUs and ventilators, and right now we’re good," Williams said.
However, the state will keep a close eye on hospitalizations. Williams emphasized that hospitalizations lag two to three weeks behind new cases, and a large increase in cases could cause more severely ill patients.
"If those (new cases) aren't all young people, then 2-3 weeks from now you'd see the hospitalizations," Williams said.