On Your Side: Springfield-area hospitals prepare to care for more patients

Springfield Doctors expect the coronavirus spread to get worse before it gets better but there are several plans. On Your Side reporter Ashley Reynolds talked to hospital officials about what they're doing now to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Don't visit a hospital unless you have to. There are now more restrictions. Everyone is getting checked for a fever and symptoms. Visitors have to answer a few questions. Healthcare workers want your name and if you've recently been out of the state. Remember, no visitors under 18 years of age. Only one visitor per patient each day unless there's an end-of-life situation. Hospitals across the country are screening visitors like this. It helps slow the spread and keeps track if there's COVID-19 case.

"As the past three or four days we have seen just the necessary people come through the ER," said Dr. Mark Griesemer with Mercy.

Both Mercy and CoxHealth have postponed some elective, non-urgent surgeries. That makes room for sick patients at different facilities if needed.

"I would like to think it in a short period of time we could open 150-200 beds from the moves we have made," said Craig McCoy, Mercy President of Springfield Communities.

Dr. Griesemer says Mercy Springfield hospital has enough supplies, including masks. CoxHealth is working toward increasing ICU and ventilator capacity to two hundred, if needed.

Right now, people have to be screened for COVID-19 through a provider to qualify for the test. A health department spokesperson tells On Your Side at this point, they don't have a timeline for broader testing capabilities.