We surpassed two significant and worrisome thresholds this week. We have now seen more than 1,000 patients (1,024) admitted for COVID-19 in our hospitals, and our COVID-19 positive census hit 100 patients in the system today, 97 at Cox South. As a reference point, the first round of CARES Act funding identified hot spot hospitals as those that had 160 total cases. We are clearly in our surge.
We are grateful that we have built capacity for this day, and we are especially grateful for our inspiring nurses, physicians, therapists and all those supporting them as they serve our community.
This disease is impacting outstate Missouri the most right now, and the majority of our service area falls into this category. Christian County is our newest area of concern. We are watching their admissions grow these past two weeks. With about 30% of Greene County’s population, they have a disproportionate number of cases (58%), compared with Greene County.
Political leaders would be warranted to take action in our outstate areas as is recommended by the White House Coronavirus Task Force. This could save lives and reduce the burden on our hospital and staff.
Our seven-day rolling average symptomatic positive test results currently stand at 24.13%, which is very high, and portends more admissions.
We have completed 67,810 COVID-19 lab tests, with about 10% positive year to date. Our average COVID-19 test turnaround time is 1.18 days.
We are commissioning a new PCR testing platform that should be operational soon. This will replace much of the work that is sent to a reference lab in Columbia. It will provide more capacity and improved turnaround time. In addition, we are working with the state to set up the Washington University saliva testing platform. This will create more affordable and available community surveillance testing.
We are also adding a temporary unit outside the Turner Center to evaluate and treat patients with respiratory symptoms. The unit will help us manage patient volumes as we enter flu season alongside COVID-19.
The unit will include room for 16 patients and will feature heating and air, as well as negative pressure. It also has the capability to offer X-Ray and labs. It is scheduled to open in early November.
We will also be opening an additional 36 private beds on the third floor of the new tower at Cox South, which will be helpful.
View from the front lines: Inside our COVID-19 units
Several staff members from our COVID-19 units shared their experiences serving some of our sickest patients. Our emphasis on masking and distancing is driven out of a powerful sense of responsibility. We see what this disease can do, and we want to protect our community so we can defeat it.
October Charity of the Month: Domestic Violence Awareness
Social isolation fuels domestic violence situations, and that isolation is heightened by our current pandemic. This month, we are highlighting three community organizations – Harmony House, Freedom's Rest Domestic Violence Center, and The Victim Center – for their work supporting survivors.
Expanded contract agreement with Humana
CoxHealth Network recently expanded our agreement with Humana, effective Nov. 1, 2020.
Our previous agreement limited all Humana commercial products to providers in CoxHealth Network Branson. Under our new agreement, all Humana referrals from Branson providers can now be sent to CoxHealth facilities and providers in Springfield. The agreement includes all CoxHealth providers in all Humana commercial products, including Herschend Family Entertainment.
CoxHealth in the news
Amelia Montgomery, a critical care nurse who serves COVID-19 patients, was featured in a story by the Associated Press. The story was shared internationally.
Renee Fesperman, Lois Miller, critical care nurses, and Dalton Swindle, respiratory therapist, were interviewed for an article in the Springfield News-Leader about working with COVID-19 patients.
Voice of the patient
From Springfield ED reports: “While in the waiting area, I was told when it was almost my turn to be seen. I felt listened to.” “All are very fast, friendly and professional.”
Thank you for caring for our community,