St. Mary’s Hospital in Jefferson City is the latest in Mid-Missouri to tighten its rules related to visitors as a summer surge of coronavirus cases continues.
Starting Monday, visitors will be limited to two support people for Family Birth Center patients; a guardian for pediatric patients; a support person for patients having surgery or a procedure; and limited visitors for patients near death with approval from the hospital.
Visitors have to enter through the outpatient entrance from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on weekends, according to a news release from SSM Health, which operates the hospital.
Masks are required at all times and visitors should bring their own. Screenings will take place at entrances and visitors are expected to stay in patients’ rooms or in designated waiting areas. They must also follow hand hygiene and social distancing rules, the release says.
“We have seen an increase in hospitalizations from COVID-19 and a substantial increase in community transmission,” Becky Miller, vice president of operations for St. Mary’s Hospital, said in a statement. “We are taking this step to continue to allow support to our patients while keeping our patients and staff as safe as possible. We appreciate the community’s cooperation and ask for the community’s assistance in slowing the spread of COVID-19.”
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 218 cases in the last seven days in Cole County — more than double the number recorded in the previous week. The county ranks 15th-highest in the state for new coronavirus infections per capita and has an 18.3% positive test rate.
The Cole County Health Department reported 55 new cases on Friday for a total of 8,454 cases outside nursing homes since the pandemic began. Health department director Kristi Campbell warned on a video conference Thursday that the county would see higher numbers in the coming days because of delays in reporting from one lab.
COVID-19 positivity rate continues to increase in Missouri
According to the state health dashboard, there have been 1,734 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Missouri.
In total, there have been 541,923 confirmed cases since the pandemic started. Health officials also recorded 603 new probable cases with a total number of 100,675 antigen test results being positive.
The state dashboard recorded seven new deaths Friday morning, adding to the total number of deaths, which is at 9,470.
The state dashboard has reported that the seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate also increased to 13.5%.
The dashboard recorded that 1,357 people were in Missouri hospitals as of July 13.