State Continues Support for Springfield-Greene County to Relieve Strain on Local Health Care System

 — The State of Missouri’s effort to relieve the strain of COVID-19 on the Springfield region’s health care system continued today with more patients being treated at the state-supported Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Center, ambulance strike teams transporting additional COVID-19 patients out of the region, and planning efforts with local health care officials to provide additional support if necessary. 

On Thursday July 29, the advanced life-support ambulance strike teams transported an additional 20 patients to hospitals outside the Springfield area to reduce hospital censuses in the region. Through Thursday, the 10 ambulance teams had transported a total of 107 COVID-19 patients outside the area. The transports have included some roundtrips of seven to nine hours or more. The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) arranged for the ambulance teams through an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) request, which was fulfilled by the State of Arkansas Division of Emergency Management.

On Thursday July 29, the Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Center served a total of 25 additional patients. The infusion center had served a total of 113 patients, who previously would have required treatment in a hospital setting, since it opened on July 23. The infusion center is supported by the Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team (MO DMAT-1). It has served patients from around southwest Missouri, including Joplin, Branson, and Bolivar. Monoclonal antibodies are proteins that help the body fight off COVID-19 and reduce the risk of severe disease and hospitalization to high-risk patients. 

Springfield hospital leaders have called the strike teams “a life-line for us” and the infusion center “hugely helpful” because it has freed up as many as 10 beds a day for one hospital.

On Friday, state team members met with Springfield-Green County health care leaders and a team from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to continue to be proactive and plan for additional health care needs if conditions change in the region. The HHS team is providing technical assistance to help rapidly meet challenges posed by the Delta variant in the Springfield area. 

“Our state health and emergency management teams continue to work closely with Springfield-Greene County and federal partners to promote vaccination and meet critical health care needs,” Governor Parson said. “In recent weeks, we saw an increase in the number of vaccines requested by vaccinators, and it is encouraging to see a drop in the 7-day average for new COVID-19 cases in Greene County." 

On Thursday July 29, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department and the Springfield-Greene County office of Emergency Management withdrew their request to the state for an Alternate Care Site. Here is a timeline of the actions SEMA and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services took to respond to the request.

  • July 14, Springfield-Greene County requested five resources for staffing, supplies and equipment. It did not seek an alternate care site location.
    • Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Center – operational by July 23, 113 patients served through July 29
    • Ambulance Strike Teams – deployed on July 23, 107 transports through July 29
    • Hospital Medical Staffing Support – DHSS/SEMA are still involved in this process with local partners
    • Mobile COVID Testing Support – issue was addressed locally
    • Potential Support for an Alternate Care Site
  • July 19, Springfield-Greene County modified the previous request to include a stand-alone Alternate Care Site. DHSS/SEMA and HHS were involved in multiple daily conversations to finalize clarification on the site’s capability as a step-down unit or as an acute care facility. Once a final determination was made, the state agreed to escalate the request to FEMA.
  • July 22, SEMA submitted the federal resource request for an Alternate Care Site at one of the two sites identified locally: Q Hotel and Suites or Missouri State University's Kentwood Hall.
  • July 23, SEMA submitted the request for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) planning and engineering support.
  • July 24, SEMA added long term care facility Maranatha Village, as a primary location due to its potential for a faster conversion to an Alternate Care Site than locally identified sites.
  • July 25, SEMA mission assigned the USACE to conduct site assessments.
  • July 26, USACE conducted site assessments at Maranatha Village and Q Hotel and Suites, and a decision was made not to proceed with Missouri State University's Kentwood Hall. 
  • July 28, SEMA submitted federal resource request seeking medical support staff to bridge the gap while DHSS worked on a contract. SEMA also submitted a request to activate an HHS technical assistance team.
  • July 29, the HHS technical assistance team is mission assigned to the Springfield-Greene County area and USACE provided their site assessment recommendations and estimated cost.
  • July 29, Springfield-Greene County withdrew the request for a stand-alone Alternate Care Site.
  • July 30, the HHS team met with SEMA and Springfield-Greene County to discuss ongoing response efforts and ability to expand as needed.

"Vaccinations are a critical way we combat this disease, and we encourage anyone age 12 and up to get vaccinated to help protect themselves and those around them,” Governor Parson said.