Saline County health officials are watching and learning from what is happening in Springfield, Missouri.
The federal government is sending a COVID surge team to support hospitals in southwest Missouri that are filling up with virus patients. Springfield is seeing an especially alarming spike. Springfield hospital system CoxHealth has had to transfer a dozen COVID-19 patients from one hospital to others in the region this past weekend.
The Show Me State has the second highest COVID case load in the country over the past week, only behind its southern neighbor, Arkansas. They both are also struggling to get residents vaccinated, as Missouri has less than 40 percent fully protected, and Arkansas is under 35 percent.
With a local vaccination rate at less than 40 percent in Saline County, health officials worry that a similar scenario could happen here. They say they are watching, and trying to learn as much as possible about Springfield with the hope of not having to use what they learn.