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Hospital Transitions From Pandemic to Endemic

4/1/2022


According to Scotland County Hospital & Clinics Disaster Chairman, Robert Miller, the hospital and clinics will be removed from under the hospital's emergency operations in the eICS (electronic incident command system). This local change is due to Missouri's Governor Parson's announcement to end the COVID-19 crisis in Missouri and shift the state operations to an endemic phase of the pandemic beginning on Friday, April 1, 2022.  Miller said, "SCH has, from the beginning, worked diligently to mitigate the risk to our community, by sharing information based on research and experience. Our staff has done an amazing job of being flexible during a time of much uncertainty. Their dedication to the care of our friends and neighbors in the communities we serve should never be forgotten. I am grateful we are moving beyond reacting to focusing on prevention."

Most people are wondering when and how the pandemic will end, and there are still no easy answers. Pandemics are a widespread, rapid spread of disease with exponentially rising cases over a large area. Endemic viruses, meanwhile, are constantly present and have a predictable spread. Classifying COVID-19 as an endemic will mean treating the virus like a seasonal virus. According to the Governor's website, hospitalizations in Missouri have dropped drastically in the past month. The last COVID-19 positive patient was admitted to Scotland County Hospital on January 23, 2022 and dismissed on February 1, 2022.

Randy Tobler, MD, FACOG, CPE, CEO, Scotland County Hospital & Clinics said, "Removing our facility from the emergency operations status in our eICS system takes some of the daily and weekly virus reporting pressures off of our staff and lets them get back to patient care rather than paperwork. It also lifts the cumbersome and time-consuming burdens of monitoring regulatory and compliance measures that have been necessary during the pandemic."

The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, is expected to continue to circulate in communities, but the state of Missouri's surveillance priority will change from monitoring case numbers to monitoring disease severity and societal impact as new waves of infection come and go. This transition does not minimize the continued importance of public health surveillance, investigation, and response activities, as is necessary to mitigate any disease. According to a press release from Governor Parson's office, "Missouri’s approach moving forward will allow state and local health officials to closely monitor community level of COVID-19, determine which variants of SARS-CoV-2 are circulating through the genomic surveillance, and assess disease severity and impact of COVID-19-associated illnesses."

Scotland County Hospital and Clinics offers COVID-19 Moderna brand vaccines weekly, on Fridays. Patients can call 660-465-2828 to make an appointment. Additionally, SCH & C receives weekly COVID-19 home test kits available free of charge to anyone. COVID-19 testing is available through the hospital & clinics and if tested positive, the hospital administers a number of approved infusions to treat the disease. And finally, the CDC recently expanded eligibility for an additional booster dose. The second booster is now approved for anyone over the age of 65 and those 50 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease from COVID-19. CDC, in collaboration with FDA and public health partners, will continue to evaluate the need for additional booster doses for all Americans. If you or someone you know qualifies for an additional booster, please schedule an appointment with the receptionist at Memphis Medical Services, 660-465-2828 to get the booster. 

As a reminder, visitor restrictions have been lifted. Visiting hours for hospital patients are 7 am - 8 pm. The Quiet Hour is 1 - 2 pm daily. Masks are no longer required for staff and patients unless you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or influenza.

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