Letter to Our Community (7/22)
As the number of COVID-19 cases in our community continues to climb, we again face a stark truth: This pandemic is not just happening somewhere else – it’s happening here.
Although many are weary of the national coverage and political debate about COVID-19, the fact is there are things you can and should do to protect yourself, your family and others. Here’s why — we are now seeing widespread COVID-19 cases in each of the counties Lake Regional serves, as well as a recent uptick in the number of patients hospitalized with, and dying from, this illness.
As of July 21, we were caring for five confirmed COVID-19 inpatients; tests are currently pending for several others. That’s the greatest number of inpatient COVID-19 cases Lake Regional has treated at once since April. And while it may seem like a small number compared to metropolitan areas in the news, small numbers can have a large impact on a community and health system of this size.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services tracks the seven-day change in statewide cases. That rate increased 3 percent for the period ending July 22; by comparison, Camden County increased 10 percent. And based on our community testing results of 5 to 20 positives daily, we fully expect the pace to accelerate.
Keeping the Lake of the Ozarks safe for families — our own, as well as visitors — throughout the summer is everyone’s job. Taking personal responsibility for following CDC guidelines, including wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing and good health habits, is the best way to proactively manage this illness. That’s why we encourage businesses and municipalities to advocate for face coverings.
Offering safe, convenient testing options continues to be a focus for Lake Regional. We are actively working with local employers to provide employee testing to help businesses operate more safely. During the past two weeks, we have tested more than 1,250 individuals — nearly 100 per day — including community members and patients. We appreciate the trust these individuals have placed in us. I’m also proud of our team members who provide this important service.
Since the beginning of this pandemic, our most important goal has been to ensure that our employees and facilities remain safe and ready to care for you. Some of the steps we are taking include screening all employees and patients before they enter a Lake Regional location, and requiring everyone to wear a mask. And although we are unfortunately receiving some pushback from visitors on these measures, we will continue to hold firm. They are nonnegotiable for ensuring the safety of those who work here, as well as those Lake Regional serves.
We believe our experience caring for COVID-19 patients this spring has given us a solid understanding of what will be needed should the number of local cases continue to climb. We know this community is depending on us, and we will remain vigilant to care for you.
To learn more about our safety measures and steps you can take to prevent illness, please visit lakeregional.com/covid19.
Our Commitment Runs Deep,
Dane W. Henry, FACHE
Chief Executive Officer
Lake Regional Health System