CoxHealth and Mercy Springfield Communities have workforces that are close to fully vaccinated against COVID-19 after mandates were announced over the summer.
Both health care systems have more than 90% compliance, which also includes approved medical or religious exemptions, according to spokespeople with the organizations.
At CoxHealth, the compliance rate is 94%, said spokesperson Kaitlyn McConnell, noting the rate is 99% for physicians. Employees must have their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 15, per the organization's August announcement.
McConnell said around 50 employees chose to resign over the mandate.
"Despite announcing a vaccine mandate, we are seeing strong growth in our recruitment," she said via email, pointing to a record 457 new employees in September and 400 in August.
CoxHealth is the area's largest employer with 12,253 people on staff, according to Springfield Business Journal list research this year.
At Mercy Springfield Communities, 97% of employees, including those with exemptions, complied as of Sept. 30, according to a statement provided by spokesperson Sonya Kullmann. The end of September was the deadline for employees to be fully vaccinated, according to the organization's mandate announced in July.
The statement indicates that, after the deadline, an unspecified number of employees were placed on 28-day unpaid suspension with full benefits to give more time for compliance.
"We won’t know the full impact until that deadline, but every day, more co-workers are completing their vaccinations. We were prepared and were able to cover shifts to continue Mercy’s mission," the statement reads. "It has been a difficult time for Mercy with the loss of some co-workers who contributed to our mission through the years, but Mercy simply believes this is the right thing to do to protect our communities from the spread of COVID-19."
Mercy ranked No. 2 on SBJ's 2021 list of the area's largest employers. The organization reported 9,139 local employees.
In Greene County, the percentage of the fully vaccinated eligible population was nearly 51% as of yesterday, according to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department's COVID-19 dashboard. The seven-day average of cases was 53, with 77 hospitalized in Greene County hospitals.
A pair of military veterans with an interest in cigars opened Tabak Co. LLC; CoxHealth’s first “super clinic” in Springfield opened; and Quarters Arcade & Boba Bar got its start in Ozark.