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CoxHealth President and CEO Steve Edwards is issuing cautionary statements about a new COVID-19 variant impacting case figures, and he's taking to national news outlets to encourage vaccinations.
Edwards in recent days has appeared on CNN, NPR and other outlets to discuss rising case numbers in southwest Missouri and the culprit: the delta variant.
"We've seen our census grow by fivefold in the last month," Edwards said in a June 18 interview with NPR's Ari Shapiro. "In our local health department ... their sequencing shows 90% of all new cases are the delta variant."
Edwards echoed similar comments with CNN, noting vaccinations are the key to slowing the spread of the virus.
"Almost all of our cases are unvaccinated people that, in my opinion, have put themselves in harm's way during this pandemic," he told CNN.
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department's COVID-19 dashboard shows 37.7% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day average of cases is roughly 94, with 153 hospitalizations.
At the time of the local coronavirus mandate’s expiration May 28, there were 43 people hospitalized in Greene County with COVID-19, according to Springfield-Greene County Health Department data.
Comparatively, 52.9% of the eligible U.S. population has been fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
The local Health Department last week announced the launch of an interactive map of vaccination sites in the area. The Health Department is scheduled to host a news conference at 2 p.m. today at Mother's Brewing Co., which is offering a free beer for those who get vaccinated on-site.
Downtown flower shop Funky Flaura’s Unique Floral Designs LLC opened; Jordan Valley Community Health Center moved in Republic; and The Jackson Grille got its start in Marshfield.