A medical staff provider who works at Mercy hospitals in Washington and Troy recently tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19). When the provider last worked at the hospitals, there were no symptoms. At the first sign of symptoms, the provider called a physician and was instructed to seek care at the nearest emergency room and get tested. The advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state of Missouri epidemiologists is that patients are most contagious when they are symptomatic, which means while some spread is possible before symptoms arise, it is a much smaller risk. Patients and co-workers who may have been in contact with this provider are being contacted.
Out of an abundance of caution, in coordination with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the emergency department at Mercy Lincoln was closed overnight. During the closure, there was an ambulance present with two paramedics, an emergency department physician and two nurses to provide any emergency stabilizing treatment before transferring. The hospital spent the time deep cleaning the space and is now open and accepting emergency patients.
As COVID-19 becomes more prevalent in the community, it is not entirely unexpected that we would have cases confirmed in caregivers. Patient and co-worker safety is our top priority. We have been preparing for the likelihood of widespread community infection and have been adjusting our policies to strike the right balance of protecting our co-workers and physicians while also being able to provide safe patient care for our community. It is our mission to follow in the footsteps of the Sisters of Mercy and answer the call to care for our community in even the most challenging circumstances.