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MU Health is preparing for a spike in patients as COVID-19 outbreak continues

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

University of Missouri Health Care is preparing for a large uptick in patients as COVID-19 continues to spread across the country.

MU Health Care's Infection Control Director and pediatric doctor, Christelle Ilboudo, answered questions related to coronavirus Monday.

Ilboudo said MU Health has plans in place to handle a large spike in cases.

"There's a lot of work and preparation in our system to prepare for seeing more cases and more patients," Ilboudo said.

MU Health spokesman Eric Maze said the organization is actively preparing for how operations would change with an influx of patients and preparing drive-up testing.

Maze said MU Health is looking at ways to offer testing in their lab, create drive-through test sites in the community, considering adjusting surgical volumes for elective procedures and adjusting visitor policies.

We are constantly monitoring space needs and considerations, and we have the ability to make adjustments to open up additional beds in certain units if needs arise.

Eric Maze, MU Health Care

Ilboudo said the system has tested several patients for the virus through the state health lab, but could not provide a number.

"We actually recommend for people who think they have it and have mild symptoms to stay home or call their physicians about what to do next," Ilboudo said.

She said MU Health Care to preparing to set up drive-through testing like other health agencies are doing across the state.

"With the goal of expediting triage, really trying to save our emergency department for those patients that really need urgent and critical care," Ilboudo said.

She couldn't say when a drive-through test would start, but expects administrators to make an announcement in the coming days.

There are also plans in place to protect health care workers from becoming ill and MU Health may start restricting visitors.

"As the situation changes and progresses and once we start seeing cases here, I think we will escalate our visitor policies," Ilboudo said. "It would be up to our administrators to decide at what point do we trigger those more strict restrictions."

Gov. Mike Parson announced Monday six cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state. As of early afternoon no cases were confirmed in Mid-Missouri.

However, several schools in Mid-Missouri including Jefferson City and Columbia called off classes.

This is a developing story, stay with ABC 17 News for more updates.

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Matt Ragsdale

Matt Ragsdale is a broadcast and digital producer at ABC 17 News.

Connor Hirsch

Connor Hirsch reports for the weekday night shows, as well as Sunday nights.

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