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Letter to Our Community (4/6)

This hospital was built to respond to emergency situations.

For years, we have been investing in training our staff and preparing for scenarios like this. And right now, Lake Regional Health System is working to make sure our care providers, medical facilities and supplies are ready to meet the challenge of COVID-19.

This commitment is shared through all levels of our organization.

We ask that you continue to do your part by limiting your exposure to others, so we can effectively treat those who are affected by this or any other emergency. When people ask how they can help, our first request is to continue following social distancing guidelines in order to reduce risk to our staff and the greater community we serve.

Two weeks have passed since the first positive case of COVID-19 at Lake Regional was announced. Weeks of preparation preceded that event, allowing us to respond swiftly while also ramping up community resources, including a 24/7 nurse call line, virtual primary care visits and mobile testing sites in Osage Beach and Lebanon.

As of April 3, Lake Regional has tested more than 250 individuals. That number grows by about 30 each day, and we expect the pace to accelerate. We have cared for 10 COVID-19-positive patients in our Intensive Care Unit. That number will increase as we approach mid-to-late May, when the health crisis is expected to peak in Missouri.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that requires what health care workers call “droplet precautions” and “isolation precautions.” As you may have seen in our recent social media posts, our team is well protected through the use of PAPRs (powered air-purifying respirators), HALO masks and N95 masks, as well as a combination of face shields, goggles, gowns and gloves, depending on the patient care area and associated risk of exposure.

Like hospitals nationwide, we are closely monitoring the quantity of supplies on hand, like gloves and masks. We also read the state and national stories about supply shortages. Therefore, although we believe we have an adequate supply to meet the demand, we are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to ensure the safety of our care team and our patients. This includes working with the State Emergency Management Agency, sourcing new vendors and even reaching out to local businesses that are willing to help. These proactive steps will help us stay ahead of the curve.

I cannot stress enough: safety is our top priority. Protecting our staff is as essential as caring for our patients — we cannot do one without the other.

We are pouring resources into making sure our patients and frontline teams are protected. From screening each individual who walks into any of our facilities to putting dedicated staff in critical care areas to ensure PPE is put on and taken off properly to prevent contamination, we are taking every precaution and then some.

As you might imagine, this heightened level of concern and activity can take its toll on caregivers. That’s why we were so grateful for the recent expression of support from Spirit FM and the hundreds of people who attended the Park and Praise event (safely in their cars) on March 31. Your support brought our hospital staff to tears and reinvigorated our spirit, and we thank you.

In the coming weeks, we will continue to provide community updates on our website and social media. Meanwhile, be assured:

  • We are built for this.
  • We are up to the challenge.
  • We will see this community through.

Thank you for your continued concern and vigilance. Take care, and stay safe.

Our Commitment Runs Deep,

Dane Henry, FACHE
Chief Executive Officer
Lake Regional Health System