Twenty-two more COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in Texas County in the last two days, the Texas County Health Department said Friday.

The agency said 42 are positive at home. Another four are hospitalized. Nine have died since the pandemic began. The cumulative total varies by 50 between the state and county numbers, with the later higher at 930.

The county’s positivity rate — the number of positive cases in the last seven days — has declined to 23 percent over the last few days. It has hit as close as 40 percent.

The news comes as hospital beds are filling up in Springfield amid an influx of patients not seen since the pandemic began.

Southwest Missouri health leaders are pleading with the public to take precautions as hospitals are in critical danger of being overwhelmed. That has implications for Texas County patients who need acute care and transferred to Springfield.

On Friday, there were 215 coronavirus patients at Cox and Mercy in Springfield, up from 177 a week ago. 102 of those people were from Greene County, according to the health department's dashboard.

Since Monday, CoxHealth's hospitals in Springfield, Branson, Barton County and Monett added a total of 50 COVID-19 patients, according to a tweet from the hospital system.

"In the coming weeks, our numbers are expected to double," said Wanda Brown, a nurse at Mercy. "We are running out of room, not only for our COVID patients but our other patients as well."

Missouri Foundation for Health President Dr. Bob Hughes echoed those calls Friday, urging Missouri Gov. Mike Parson to pass a statewide mandate.

“We're running out of time. We must act now or more lives will be lost," he said. "This virus does not respect county borders ...the impact reaches every corner of the state."

But such a mandate seems unlikely as Iowa and Kansas added the requirement.

On Thursday, Parson reiterated his position that he had no plans to require people to wear a face covering or place restrictions on public gatherings.



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