Mercy Hospital

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

Mercy Hospital Washington President Eric Eoloff reported Tuesday that the hospital is on overflow status for critical care beds, and all St. Louis area hospital ICUs are full. 

Tuesday morning, the Washington hospital was caring for 25 COVID-19 patients, with seven on ventilators. They range in age from 60 to 90, and 21 are from Franklin County. On Sunday the hospital cared for 29 patients. Eoloff clarified that the number of patients fluctuates each day, and the number reported is a snapshot taken at approximately 7 a.m.

The Franklin County Commission reported an additional 72 COVID-19 cases Monday and 29 on Tuesday, bringing the county’s total number of infected people since March to 7,237 people. Reports released in the days surrounding Christmas and Thanksgiving also showed lower numbers due to reports being slowed by federal holidays.

Tuesday’s report also showed the 10-day new case average was 55.50 and the seven-day testing positivity rate was 24.6 percent. There are 27 county residents being cared for at area hospitals such as Mercy. 

“We know this positivity rate and new case average will result in continued hospitalizations over the next several weeks and continue to constrain our finite resources,” Eoloff wrote in an email.

Eoloff said the hospital has had two Covid-19-related deaths since the new year, both Franklin County residents. 

As of Tuesday, Franklin County has reported the deaths of 112 people since the pandemic began in March. An email from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services sent Monday said the agency recently confirmed 250 COVID-19-related deaths statewide. It’s expected that any who were county residents will be reported in the coming weeks. 

“Our hard-working and compassionate staff remains fatigued as we have been caring for a very large number of very sick patients over the course of several months at levels much greater than last year,” Eoloff wrote. 

Eoloff reported that some hospital staff have begun to receive the second of two injections, known as the booster shot, of the Pfizer vaccine. He said about two weeks after the second shot is administered, the person vaccinated has 95 percent protection from the virus. 

“We remain hopeful that the vaccine will become available to the general public, including those most vulnerable first, within the next several weeks and months,” Eoloff wrote. “We believe the vaccine is our best hope to put an end to this pandemic sooner rather than later.  We sincerely hope the public gets vaccinated when the vaccine is more widely distributed.”

Two weeks have passed since the Franklin County mask mandate expired. The Washington mask mandate remains in effect.

According to the city of Washington’s weekly report released Monday, two of the three metrics the city uses to measure community spread are red, compared to last Monday when all three were red. 

Emergency Management Director Mark Skornia wrote that when the city mask mandate ordinance was passed on Nov. 23, the two-week average of new cases in the 63090 ZIP code was 22.2 cases. Monday it was 15.8 cases. Similarly, when the countywide mask mandate began on Nov. 20, the two-week average of new cases in the county was 84 cases. Monday it was 62.64 cases.

A message from The Missourian left Tuesday for Presiding Franklin County Commissioner Tim Brinker was not returned by press time.