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Field hospital considered as virus surges in Missouri

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Officials are discussing canceling all but the most urgent medical procedures and building a field hospital as the coronavirus surges in Missouri.

Dr. Alex Garza, the chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, said Friday that projections showed the region’s hospitals maxing out intensive care units in a matter of days.

Garza said the task force was working with the state to determine what assistance would be necessary. The region may need a field hospital, he said. And it may just need to open up beds in area hospitals that, right now, can’t be used because the hospitals don’t have enough staff.

“And, given these projections, it might be both,” Garza said.

In Springfield, CoxHealth will add nearly 150 beds in the next few weeks, which is equivalent to a mid-sized hospital, Dr. Shawn Usery said in a briefing. However, he said, he needs more staff to care for the patients who fill that added space, KYTV reported.

“We are currently looking across the United States to find nurses to help care for patients,” he said.

As of Saturday, the state health department reported 25,480 new coronavirus cases in the past week, or 3,640 new cases daily on average.

The city of St. Louis has tallied 11,061 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 332 probable cases on top of those. As of Friday night, 223 people had died in St. Louis. staff contributed to this report.

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