State answers call for local COVID-19 assistance

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City and county officials have called on assistance from the state to address a glut of COVID-19 cases, and Missouri's government now has answered.

Gov. Mike Parson yesterday announced additional personnel and equipment would be directed to the city of Springfield and Greene County to support the local health care system, according to a news release.

"We will continue to do all we can to support the Springfield area and surrounding communities as we experience this increase in COVID-19 spread," Parson said in the release.

Ambulance strike teams are arriving to assist local hospitals. The state of Arkansas' Division of Emergency Management is providing 10 advanced life support ambulances, 20 medical personnel, two strike team leaders and one logistics specialist to support transports of COVID-19 patients. The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency arranged for the strike teams through an emergency management assistance compact request.

SEMA also is escalating a request for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for an alternative care site in Springfield. According to the release, an unidentified hotel was selected by the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management to be converted into a short-term medical facility to help with overcrowding in Springfield hospitals.

Additionally, the Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team is providing equipment and personnel and working with Jordan Valley Community Health Center and other health care facilities in the area to support a monoclonal antibody centralized infusion center. The center is expected to begin receiving patients for therapy treatments today.

The local Office of Emergency Management and Springfield-Greene County Health Department a week ago called for assistance from the state amid rising case counts. The Greene County Commission voted unanimously July 21 to approve a declaration of local emergency in an effort to expedite local health officials' request for funding from the state.

As of yesterday, the seven-day average for coronavirus cases in Greene County was 224.3, with 263 people hospitalized, according to the Health Department's COVID-19 dashboard. The percentage of the eligible population that's fully vaccinated was nearly 41%, a slight increase from a week earlier when the alternate care site funding request was made.