Missouri Hospital Association expecting record number of active COVID-19 hospitalizations by the weekend

Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 5:09 PM CDT
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OSAGE BEACH, Mo. (KY3) - “We are not heading in the right direction," said Dave Dillon of the Missouri Hospital Association, when it comes to cases of the coronavirus in Missouri.

Dillon said the purpose of the stay-at-home orders, mask guidelines, and social distancing was to lessen the burden on the hospital system in the state.

He said it helped, at first.

“In central Missouri, we have hospitals that are becoming full," Dillon added.

Dillon said by this weekend, there will be 1,400 active cases of COVID-19 being treated in hospitals all across the state.

“That would be the highest throughout the entire pandemic," Dillon told KY3/KSPR’s Andrew Havranek.

On a local level, Lake Regional Hospital in Osage Beach said in a statement Wednesday it currently has 27 active COVID-19 patients, five more since Monday.

Eight of those patients are in the Intensive Care Unit on ventilators.

The hospital has only 18 ICU beds.

Those are beds that are needed for many things, not just COVID-19 patients.

Dillon said there is a bigger issue, especially in more rural towns.

”While you may have medical, surgical beds, you might not have a respiratory therapist to run a patient that’s intubated on a ventilator to provide that care, you may not be able to access the staff that it takes to provide that care," Dillon said.

It’s not just a growing problem at the Lake of the Ozarks or in rural Missouri. The surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations is happening all across the state, including Springfield.

“Cox Health built a dedicated COVID ICU unit and for months it sat on the sidelines," Dillon said. “Now it is very much in use.”

It’s not too late to slow the spread of the coronavirus and ease the stress on doctors and nurses, Dillon said, who have been working incredibly hard over the last seven months.

”The folks who are managing this crisis, are, in real time, learning the lessons," Dillon added. “The problem, is we keep feeding them more problems into the system by not doing the right things and controlling the spread of the virus.”

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