Mercy Hospital

Mercy Hospital pictured from the intersection of Third Street and Highway 47 Wednesday, Sept. 16.

More Than 200 Test Positive Since Monday

A 3-year-old boy from Beaufort, a 4-year-old boy from Robertsville, a 5-year-old boy from Washington, a 5-year-old boy from Union and a 6-year-old girl from Washington were among the 235 Franklin County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 since Monday’s report from the Franklin County Health Department. 

Since the pandemic began in March, approximately 2,867 people in Franklin County have tested positive for the virus, which has sickened more than 180,200 people in Missouri. More than 2,900 people have died from COVID-19 in the state, including 46 people in Franklin County.  

Since Monday, approximately 893 people, who were tested in Franklin County for COVID-19, received negative test results. 

The county health department’s daily report noted a slight decrease in the number of active COVID-19 infections in area long-term care facilities on Friday. The current number is 88, which is down from a peak of 92 active cases earlier in the week. 

Two deaths were reported by the health department mid-week: a 76-year-old woman and 100-year-old woman, both of New Haven. With more than 16 deaths reported in October, this month is likely going to be recorded as one of the deadliest months of the pandemic for Franklin County.  

While there are reports of hospitals in the St. Louis metropolitan area being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, Mercy Hospital Washington has seen a decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations this week, according to Mercy Hospital Washington President Eric Eoloff. 

“We do not expect the decline in hospitalizations due to COVID here to continue given the increasing rate of spread in the community and at some long-term care facilities,” Eoloff wrote in an email. 

The county health department reported on Friday that 12 Franklin County residents were hospitalized between Mercy Hospital Washington and Missouri Baptist in Sullivan. 

Currently the 10-day rolling total of new COVID-19 cases in Franklin County is 445, with the 14-day testing positivity rate at 14.46 percent and the 14-day new case average at 40.93.

Eoloff added that, overall, October has been a busy month for the hospital in terms of the increasing demand for its ICU. 

“We have seen a 74 percent increase in admissions to our ICU (over last year),” Eoloff wrote in an email, adding this is partly due to COVID-19 and other patients needing ICU-level care.

We have seen a 74% increase in our ICU census (heads in beds) when comparing October 2019 with October 2020.  In other words, we’ve had a higher census of ICU patients this October, partly due to COVID and partly due to very sick people needing ICU level of care for other conditions.

As of Friday, Mercy Hospital Washington had 11 patients with COVID-19, with a total of 12 patients in the ICU and one patient on a ventilator, Eoloff said, adding there are no flu hospitalizations at the facility. 

Presiding Franklin County Commissioner Tim Brinker — who serves as the public information officer for the county health department regarding the COVID-19 pandemic — wrote in an email that the county has seen “a handful but not many” flu cases so far this year and the reporting and tracking of those cases will not affect the department’s contact tracing efforts. 

Brinker said the contact tracers have not moved into the old Union City Hall but have an “agreement in place if and when necessitated.”

The county is still in the works of getting a contract finalized with Maximus, a third-party vendor, to assist with contact tracing Brinker said. 

“(The contract) cost is unknown, but it will be funded through the CARES Act monies,” Brinker said.