Mercy Hospital makes room for more COVID-19 patients in Springfield

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - With a growing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Greene County, many people are asking what local hospitals are doing to make sure they're prepared.

Mercy Hospital's President of Springfield Communities said the measures they're taking have already freed up an additional 200 hospital beds, maybe more, in just a short period of time. "You can't be too overcautious right now," said Craig McCoy. "We would much rather be overcautious and go to the extreme than we need to than not be prepared."

McCoy also said Mercy's teams have been tracking the coronavirus since the beginning, to ensure they would be prepared when it inevitably came to the Ozarks.

That's why Mercy staff members are changing up their routines. This includes limiting visitors and screening the ones that are allowed into the hospital. There's also the new triage in front of the emergency room entrance, for screening anyone who has symptoms of the coronavirus. McCoy said both of these actions allow them to better manage the population.

Mercy is also cancelling or postponing non-urgent, elective surgeries until further notice. They're also working to safely discharge patients as quickly as possible. Both of these actions are making more hospital beds available and frees up the workforce.

McCoy encouraged everyone to do their part, being sure to follow social distancing rules and health recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "It's a different way of life right now, don't go out, don't go socialize," he said.

One of Mercy's Emergency Medicine Doctors talked about the extra precautions he takes before saying hello to his own family. "I change right before I come in the door and leave any kind of dirty clothes there, go shower and change, and then I stay at home, kind of like everyone else is being recommended to," said Dr. Mark Griesemer.

Both experts agreed it needs to be a team effort throughout the whole community to flatten the curve.