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[ky3 weather]Springfield-Greene County Health Dept. reports another spike in COVID-19 cases; severity of cases wo

  SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – The Springfield-Greene County Health Department reported a new COVID-19 milestone Friday. It is one health leaders never wanted.

  Health leaders say the Springfield hospitals reported the largest number of critical care and ICU patients since the pandemic began. They say 44% of the 167 patients admitted are considered critical care or in the ICU. Of those 167 patients, 73 live in Greene County.

  Health leaders reported 163 new cases of COVID-19 Friday morning. That is the most cases since mid-January.

  Cases remain below their winter highs in southwestern Missouri, but the trajectory is steeper than in previous surges. Health leaders blame the recent surge on the Delta variant. The mutant version accounts more than 20% of new COVID-19 infections in the U.S., doubling in just two weeks, the Center Disease Control said this week. The Delta variant is responsible for half of new cases across a swath that includes Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

  Many counties in southwest Missouri have also reported spikes this week. Several northern Arkansas counties have reported increases in cases this week too.

  Health leaders continue to push the COVID-19 vaccine to stop the spread. Just under 38% of Greene County is vaccinated for the virus. As of Wednesday, 65.6% of Americans age 18 and older had received at least one shot, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control. The figure is expected to be over 67% by July 4.

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