SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Health officials in the Springfield area say the faster-spreading Delta variant is the primary cause of an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the region. Kendra Findley is a health investigator for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. Findley says the increasing cases and random testing of virus samples have confirmed the more infectious variant is spreading quickly in Greene County, and in much of southwest Missouri. Administrators at the two largest hospital in the Springfield-Greene County region are urging people to get vaccinated. In Greene County, 36% of the population has initiated vaccination. In most surrounding counties the figure is below 30%.