COVID-19 cases continued their upward trend this week, with 48 new cases reported by the Franklin County Health Department Tuesday, Nov. 3, including a 4-year-old girl from Labadie and a 93-year-old man from New Haven.
The total number of coronavirus cases reported in the county since March stands at 3,088.
The health department reported a record-breaking number of new virus cases in a single day Sunday, Nov. 1, when 77 cases were reported. Active long-term care cases that day were 101, which includes both residents and staff.
There were 80 active cases in long-term care facilities reported Tuesday.
Presiding Franklin County Commissioner Tim Brinker — who serves as the public information officer for the county health department regarding the COVID-19 pandemic — said personal protective equipment from the county was available for long-term care facilities if they need it.
“The owners and management (of long-term care facilities) have it down good,” Brinker said. “The virus is still being a virus, and there is not much we can do other than mitigation measures to prevent the spread.”
The Missourian reached out to area long-term care facilities about the surge in COVID-19 cases being reported.
Pat Cokingtin, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Americare Senior Living, the parent company of several area long-term care facilities, said a total of two employees are COVID-19 positive between Victorian Place of Washington & The Arbors Campus and at its South Pointe & The Arbors Campus. “Both employees remain off work while they recuperate,” she said.
Cokingtin said all employees and residents were tested Oct. 27 at Victorian Place & The Arbors and Oct. 26 at South Pointe & The Arbors. All of those tests, she said, came back negative.
Americare’s six other area properties are also virus free as of Monday, Nov. 2.
Grandview Healthcare Center Administrator Dana Bailey said the facility is “not able to reply at this time.”
Tracy Hasten, administrator for Sunset Health Care Center in Union, said the facility is “doing well” in terms of COVID-19 but was unable to give specifics.
Phone calls to other facilities were not returned.
While cases continue to surge in long-term care facilities, more children under the age of 18 are being diagnosed with COVID-19
Since Friday, Oct. 30, 32 children 18 years of age or younger have tested positive for COVID-19, with 13 of those cases being children who are 10 years of age or younger.
Peyton Baumgarth, an eighth-grader at Washington Middle School, died of COVID-19 complications Oct. 31. The 13-year-old was the first child under the age of 18 to lose his life to complications from the virus in the state of Missouri.
The death toll in the county stands at 49, which does not include the death of Baumgarth. Two additional deaths were reported Tuesday, a 92-year-old female from Berger and a 90-year-old female from New Haven.
Brinker said Baum-garth’s death will not be included in the health department’s numbers until it receives an official report from the state.
“Prayers for the family and all of those impacted by the tragic loss. I urge everyone to do their part to prevent the spread of the virus. Please wear a mask, keep a safe distance from others when you do not have a mask, keep your hands clean and away from your face,” Brinker wrote in the county’s Nov. 3 update on virus cases.
Hospitalizations for Franklin County residents stand at 14 between Mercy Hospital Washington and Missouri Baptist in Sullivan.
Eric Eoloff, president of Mercy Hospital Washington, said in an email to The Missourian as of Tuesday there were 14 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, with seven needing more intensive care and seven in the hospital’s medical unit needing less intensive care. All but one of the 14 is from Franklin County and one is from Warren County.
“These 14 represent another upward trend in our hospital,” Eoloff said. “We’ve treated larger numbers of COVID-19 patients here since July, with our peak at one time of 22 patients in mid-October.
“We’ve had two weeks this fall where the number of COVID patients declined for a few days but then spiked back up. We don’t know what accounts for this, but clearly since July we’ve see more hospitalizations than in the first few months of the pandemic reaching Franklin County,” Eoloff wrote.
“When we see 20 or more patients with COVID in our hospital, that puts a real strain on our bed and staff capacity because all the other beds here are usually occupied by patients without COVID,” Eoloff wrote. “I’ve noticed that when we get close to 20 COVID patients, we’ve had to transfer patients to other hospitals in the St. Louis metropolitan area, if they have capacity. We are concerned that we may see more than 20 patients with COVID in our hospital again this winter.
“Twenty patients with COVID here is about 25 percent of our adult bed capacity (outside of Labor & Delivery). Our ICU of 13 beds has been running between 85 percent and 92 percent capacity on most days, but there have been days when it is completely full,” he wrote. “Those are the days we call around to our sister hospitals for help.”