Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital (SGCMH) CEO Tom Keim said people who need medical care shouldn’t put off contacting their doctors because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re taking the steps that will reassure our community that they still need their physician,” Keim said in a phone interview on April 24. “We have so many people in our community that are dealing with chronic conditions.
“Even before this we probably had the cleanest hospital in the nation but [director of housekeeping] Melinda Fisher and her team have done an incredible job of taking it to the next level.”
With the hospital preparing to offer elective surgeries again, Keim wanted to assure residents that the hospital is a safe environment for people who need medical care. An initial fear of the COVID-19 outbreak was that it could be passed around through medical facilities by asymptomatic carriers. SGCMH was early in limiting access to the main facility and setting up off-site coronavirus screening locations so that the virus was not carried onto the hospital campus.
Keim said the number of cases in the Southeast Missouri region had stayed relatively low.
The Ste. Genevieve County Health Department on Monday reported the county’s eighth positive case among 216 tested. Three of those tests were still pending. There has been one COVID-19 related death of a county resident.
Monday’s update marked the first new case reported in the county since April 13.
“We were very concerned that it would take just one big event to have a major outbreak,” Keim said. “Between the county, the city, the health department, all the first responders, I think everybody did an excellent job of getting the word out, shutting down things quickly and early. We had great cooperation with public health, the Ste. Gen. ambulance service.
“I think everybody is a little cautiously optimistic,” he added. “We have not had a positive case in two weeks but we’re still going to take a very cautious stance in terms of protecting employees, protecting patients. We’re gearing up to do elective surgeries again. We’re gearing up to make sure people are able to see their doctor.”
The hospital has offered telemedicine service through its patient portal.
And it has found ways for those who need to come to the hospital to have limited exposure to other areas of the hospital other than their specific needs.
“We wanted to take care of our people and we’ve been able to do that,” Keim said. “We took necessary steps to be able to be able to provide services on an ongoing basis.”
See complete story in the May 6 edition of the Herald.