SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Hospitals are stretched thin trying to keep up with an influx of patients and patients may be waiting longer than usual lately.

There have been reports that hospital wait times can be up to 10 hours. However, hospitals say with summer illnesses and COVID-19 on the rise medical staff is already working overtime to provide care to everyone.

“My two-year-old had literally fallen and busted his eye, to the point where he couldn’t open it,” said Danielle Craft. “I asked, how long I was going to wait, they told me it was going to be about 9 or 10 hours. I just wasn’t going to do that.”

Vice President of Hospital Operations Amanda Hedgpeth says the medical staff is stretched thin.

“We had 280 contract labor, which was nurses and respiratory therapists, obviously as our COVID numbers decreased through the spring, we released those contract labor, so now we don’t have as much,” said Hedgpeth.

Summer is also an extremely busy time for hospitals.

“People are out and about on cars, boats, motorcycles, trauma is a little bit higher this summer,” said Hedgpeth. “So if you’re sitting in a waiting room, you may not see all that activity’s going on through our ambulances or helicopters coming inbound, so they just need to be aware that there are a lot of emergencies that are occurring that those in the waiting rooms don’t have the ability to see.”

Hospitals in the area are receiving more patients infected with COVID-19 which is contributing to those long wait times.

“We have 103 patients in our hospitals right now with COVID, so all those compoundings are just making for a very busy summer and hospitals, and unfortunately, leads to longer wait times in emergency departments,” said Hedgpeth.

Craft says she is also concerned about the spread of COVID-19.

“Too many people in one room,” said Craft. “We’re trying to stop the spread of COVID, you put one too many people in this small building, how do you expect it not to spread? I understand we’re all wearing masks, but it’s not guaranteed.”

Hedgpeth says the COVID-19 prevention methods are still enforced at CoxHealth locations.

“We still require masking on our campuses, only one visitor at a time, all of that is related to ensure physical distancing,” said Hedgpeth.

To help out you can try to utilize other methods of care if your injuries are non-life-threatening, such as contacting your primary care doctor.