Since June 1, MU Health Care has received more than 20 COVID-19 patients from Springfield and Branson hospitals.

“We are careful to ensure there is space available for anyone in our service area who might require inpatient care,” said Eric Maze, public relations representative for MU Health Care, in an email.

Boone County hospitals are still in yellow status and have been since June 25. Yellow status means hospitals are within standard capacity and may be delaying non-emergency patient transfers due to capacity or staffing and delaying non-urgent procedures and operations.

The hospitals had 85 total COVID-19 patients Friday, but only 24 were Boone County residents, according to the Boone County COVID-19 Information Hub.

CoxHealth in Springfield said it had transferred 13 patients to Columbia-area hospitals. Mercy Hospital Springfield, the second major health care facility in the city, said they have not transferred any patients to Boone County hospitals.

Springfield and southwest Missouri have been hard hit with a COVID-19 outbreak since the beginning of June.

Greene County, where Springfield is located, reported 228 COVID-19 patients in hospitals Friday, nine away from the peak of 237 patients Dec. 1, according to the Springfield-Greene County COVID-19 dashboard. The county hit a peak number of 104 critical care patients Thursday.

A current spike in COVID-19 cases in Boone County has been among unvaccinated individuals, with around 10% of positive cases being those fully vaccinated, said Sara Humm, public information specialist for the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department. No vaccinated people had been admitted to the Boone hospitals as of the beginning of July.

The Health Department currently has no plans to restore any of the previous health orders for COVID-19, Humm said.

“What’s different now is that we have a vaccine that’s widely available to anyone who’s 12 or older, and it’s incredibly accessible to get,” she said.

Last week, the Health Department announced a health advisory for everyone to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status, to wash their hands, socially distance and get vaccinated.

Children younger than 12 still cannot be vaccinated, but Humm hopes that will change in the next few months.

“We don’t have a health order,” she said. “There are no mandates, but certainly a strong recommendation.”

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Cameron Barnard is a reporter for the Columbia Missourian. You can reach him at, in the newsroom at 573-882-5720 or on Twitter @Cameron_Barnard.

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