The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is diminishing across the Ozarks, according to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

In an update released April 8, the health department notes that hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients were significantly lower in Greene County in March compared to February, which the public health authority says shows that the Omicron surge has waned.

On the final day of March, there were 17 people hospitalized because of COVID-19-related illness in Springfield hospitals, and three of those patients were considered to be in “critical” status. On the final day of February, there were 81 people in Springfield hospitals for COVID-19, and 21 of those patients were critical.

“While this significant reduction in COVID-19 hospitalizations is a positive indicator that COVID-19 severity in the community is declining, everyone should continue to be vigilant in reducing spread to avoid any future surges,” a statement from the health department reads.

Greene County is under what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control classifies as a low impact level for COVID-19. Impact level is determined by new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 people in the past seven days, the percent of inpatient hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients in the county and the number of new COVID-19 cases logged per 100,000 people in the past seven days.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department continues to recommend the use of COVID spread prevention strategies, which include staying up to date on vaccines and boosters, getting tested if you have been exposed or have symptoms of COVID-19 and maintaining ventilation in indoor spaces.

More information and vaccination opportunities in Springfield can be found at http://vaccine417.com or at (417) 874-1211.

The number of COVID-19-related deaths in Greene County fell from 35 in February to two in March.

There were 543 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Greene County in March, compared to 4,102 new cases in February. The figures represent a 96-percent decrease in new COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average for March 1 was 38.7, and the 7-day rolling average for March 31 was 17.5, indicating the number of COVID-19 cases reduced by more than half during the month of March.

Persons ages 71 and older represent the highest age demographic for new cases, with 22 percent of the overall caseload, according to the health department. The second highest age group, with 13 percent of the 543 cases, was persons ages 22-30.

The health department also saw the dosing of more than 500 COVID-19 vaccinations at 39 free clinics across Greene County in March.

“Vaccination continues to be the best way for people to protect themselves and their families against these possible surges of COVID-19, so we urge everyone to get vaccinated and get their booster dose as soon as they are eligible,” the statement from the health department reads.

Rance Burger

Rance Burger covers local government for the Daily Citizen. His goal is to help people know more about what projects their government is involved in, and how their tax dollars are being spent. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with 15 years experience in journalism. Reach him at rburger@sgfcitizen.org or by calling 417-837-3669. Twitter: @RanceBurger More by Rance Burger