University of Missouri Health Care has enough masks, testing supplies and staff for the present to handle its role in controlling and treating the coronavirus outbreak causing COVID-19 disease, the system’s chief nursing officer said Tuesday.


In an online briefing, Chief Nursing Officer Mary Beck said the hospital system just received a partial shipment of masks from the state’s reserve cache yesterday. Tests are running at 100 to 130 a day and increasing – on Monday the drive-through testing site had 200 visitors.


“Those tests are being run today and they should have results by the end of the day,” Beck told local media.


To prepare, Beck said, MU Health has freed 100 beds since the since the hospital system postponed non-emergency procedures March 19.


Overall, MU Health Care says it’s prepared, but it’s preparing for the event that changes.


“We don’t know how long this will be,” Beck said.


As of Monday afternoon, there had been 20 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Boone County. Beck said what makes COVID-19 different from the flu is the flu has a vaccine, decreasing its ability to spread quickly. There is no vaccine for COVID-19, which has been shown to cause sometimes severe respiratory complications.


Among the auxiliary resources Beck said she has at her disposal are quilting guilds, which have volunteered to sew basic masks for local healthcare workers. Retired nurses have also called Beck saying they are ready to offer support if needed.


“We have a pretty good pool of nurses already that are out there waiting to come on in and help us,” she said.


Although MU Health Care, in an email provided to the Tribune, asked for temporary workers to assist in supporting roles such as food service and housekeeping, a statement via spokesperson Eric Maze said at this time all positions are well-staffed.


As the situation evolves, the statements continued, MU Health will advertise available positions across the community.


As for Beck and her staff, she said she has an adequate number of health-care workers at her disposal for now. Those who work on floors that handle mostly non-emergent cases could be reassigned if needed.


“We are fully staffed at this point,” Beck said. “Because we have decreased the number of patients we have in beds, we are doing very, very well in our staffing … Our main goal is the health of our staff.”


Beck said the community has been a primary partner in supporting and protecting local healthcare workers. The most important thing community members can do, though, is stay home.


“I’m aware today that the mayor and the department for public health and Boone County have issued the stay-at-home order,” Beck said. “I’m pleased with that because that’s going to allow us to flatten the curve. At this point in our country, and our community locally, that’s one of the most important things we can do.”


The order goes into effect 8 a.m. Wednesday and will continue until April 24 unless extended. The order does allow for essential tasks such as grocery store visits and those who begin to display COVID-19 symptoms during this time should still seek medical help.


Although patients are no longer being asked their travel history before receiving a test, MU Health Care is still requiring a physician’s order. An order can be obtained from your health-care provider or via the university’s virtual urgent care clinic.


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