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Spike in COVID-19 leads to tightened restrictions at TCMH


Texas County Memorial Hospital has reviewed and revised hospital policies and procedures due to the recent spike in COVID-19 hospital board members and administration heard at their monthly meeting last Tuesday.

“We have reverted back to automatic testing of all our admissions for the protection of all patients and staff,” Amanda Turpin, Chief Nursing Officer at TCMH, said. “

This will help diagnose asymptomatic COVID positive patients who would otherwise not be caught prior to admission.”

Chris Strickland, Chief Executive Officer at TCMH, mentioned that MHA (Missouri Hospital Association) announced they are estimating the peak for our area to be in late August to early September. 

“Since the first of 2020 to the first of June 2021, we have had 15 COVID deaths total,” Turpin said. “In just July, we had 6 of those deaths.”

Turpin mentioned during that same time frame, we averaged 9 COVID admissions per month.  She further stated that in July we had 15 COVID admissions in just one week, and even had seven in just one weekend.

“Once a COVID patient is intubated and we have maxed out all we can do, they are then transferred out to another hospital,” Turpin noted. “In June, we transferred two patients, and so far in July, we have transferred 9 patients.”

Turpin stated that our ER volumes have really increased due to COVID as well.  Our normal ER volume averages 675-750 a month, and last month we had 965 ER visits. 

“The increase in ER visits is directly related to patients waiting to get tested, and then getting really sick and needing to go to the ER,” Strickland said.

“We are encouraging those experiencing symptoms to get tested at the clinics prior to an ER visit, as it is better to catch COVID early to start treatment.”

“The Delta strain is much more contagious and aggressive,” Strickland noted.

Dr. Jonathan Beers, DO, chief of staff, mentioned the different patterns we are currently seeing with COVID and the Delta strain. Prior to the Delta strain, people were hypoxic, but not really short of breath and now they are air hungry. Dr. Beers further mentioned that we are seeing a lot of actual mechanical ventilation failure versus just hypoxic failure, so we are having to adjust what we are doing.

Dr. Beers noted that patients are getting extremely sick faster and much worse. 

Strickland expressed his concern for our TCMH staff and morale due to our staff being tired. He noted that all resources are being utilized to assist with stress management and show our appreciation.

“We have submitted an application to SEMA for staffing assistance,” Strickland stated. “Bennie Cook has been a great help in fighting to try and make this happen for the hospital.”

Linda Pamperien, Chief Financial Officer at TCMH, presented the financial report for the month of June. 


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