The following is a letter to the Lake community published on Lake Regional Health System's website, on Sept. 28, 2020. As of Sept. 29, Missouri has seen 124,762 positive Covid cases with 2,086 Covid-attributed deaths, and has conducted 1.8 million Covid tests. Of the state's total deaths, 933 have been in individuals age 80 and up. More data available at Missouri's new Covid dashboard. Click here.
We are seeing a surge of COVID-19 in our service area. On Sept. 25, Lake Regional recorded the highest one-day number of positive test results in our community to date: 47 individuals. For all Lake Regional testing sites, the 7-day positivity rate was 21.4 percent as of yesterday. That’s nearly double the state’s positivity rate for the same period, 11.8 percent.
On Sept. 24, Springfield hospitals reported they were running low on staff and beds. By Sept. 26, we were notified that ICU beds were filling up in Jefferson City. Today, Lake Regional has 21 COVID-19 positive inpatients, with results pending for one additional patient.
With this much COVID-19 activity in our community and surrounding area, it’s fair to say that all of us are at risk of catching this virus. As of today, Lake Regional has 18 employees out because of community exposure to COVID. Despite my best efforts, I, too, received a positive result on Sept. 26 and am currently in quarantine.
The next few weeks will be crucial for our health system as we continue to feel the effects of this surge, coupled with the traditional start of flu season.
Following is an update on our current situation and response.
- Capacity. Certain ICU and Med/Surg beds have been designated for COVID-19 patients. We believe this is currently the best solution to safely care for our patients while conserving resources. In addition, the newly remodeled but unoccupied PCU (on third floor) has been outfitted and can be converted to a respiratory care unit quickly, if needed.
- Capability. Lake Regional has acquired rapid testing capability for COVID-19. The Laboratory is currently validating our new Abbott ID NOW equipment. We expect to complete the necessary testing by mid-week and begin offering this important service to the community through our Express Care clinics in Lebanon and Camdenton. We will expand to Osage Beach and Eldon Express Care locations, as well as our primary care clinics, as soon as supplies and equipment will allow.
- Continuity. More than a month ago, our administration team made the decision to split into three groups. Our teams rotate working remotely to ensure the health system’s business can continue even if one or more of us is affected by COVID. This has proven to be an effective strategy since my quarantine has not affected the other members of our management team. Other steps taken to mitigate the risk of staff-to-staff transmission include mandating masks, meeting digitally rather than in person, and splitting manager teams.
We strongly encourage everyone to do all they can to stay healthy. Please continue to wear masks in public and follow the CDC’s recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19. When we follow these guidelines, it significantly reduces the likelihood of passing the virus to others.
Our Commitment Runs Deep,
Dane W. Henry, FACHE
Chief Executive Officer
Lake Regional Health System