COVID 101620

Since Monday, Oct. 12, the Franklin County Health Department has reported 202 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases since March to 2,293.

The 10-day rolling total of new COVID-19 cases is at 327 as of Friday, Oct. 16, with the testing positivity rate over the last 14 days at 7.68 percent.

Presiding Franklin County Commissioner Tim Brinker said he did not know the number of tests issued at last week’s testing event or the number of positive cases that came as a result.

Meanwhile, the number of hospitalizations, active cases in long-term care facilities and deaths due to COVID-19 also are on the rise.

Two deaths were reported by the health department this week — a 96-year-old Pacific woman and a 75-year-old Washington woman — bringing the county death toll due to COVID-19 to 33.

As of Friday, there are 28 cases in long-term care facilities, which was a slight increase from Thursday’s report of 26 cases.

Hospitalizations due to the virus are on the rise, with a total of 23 people hospitalized at Mercy Hospital Washington and Missouri Baptist in Sullivan.

Brinker said the health department does not include the number of hospitalizations of Franklin County residents outside of the county on its report but does receive the data.

The report also does not include residents who are outside of the county being hospitalized at Mercy Hospital Washington or Missouri Baptist Hospital in Sullivan.

Lisa Lochner, vice president of operations at Missouri Baptist Hospital in Sullivan, said the hospital has seen an increase of less than 5 percent in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 over the last few weeks but did not give specific numbers.

“There has been a slight increase but nothing that has overwhelmed the hospital,” Lochner said.

Eric Eoloff, president of Mercy Hospital Washington, said the hospital has 14 patients with COVID-19-related illnesses, with 11 of those patients being residents of Franklin County.

Even with a decrease in hospitalizations from Wednesday, when it had 21 patients with COVID-19, Eoloff said he is still concerned.

“Hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to challenge our staffing and patient room capacity,” Eoloff said. “Earlier this week we transferred several patients to St. Louis for lack of physical patient rooms to admit them.”

The patients hospitalized at Mercy Hospital Washington due to COVID-19 range in age from 51 to 92.

Eoloff said the hospital has no patients admitted due to the flu, and emphasized that wearing masks not only helps mitigate the spread of COVID-19 but also the flu. “We plead with the community to wear face masks when appropriate and to stay socially distant when gathered with other people.”