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WEDNESDAY UPDATES: SSM St. Mary’s Hospital changing visitor guidelines

COVID-19 case numbers might differ among state and local health authorities because of issues with reporting and address verification.

UPDATE 10:15 P.M.: SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital in Jefferson City is easing its visitor guidelines.

According to a news release, the hospital will allow all non-COVID patients to have one "support person" at a time starting on Monday.

The visitor must be older than 16. That person must also go through a screening, including a temperature check, before they are allowed in the building.

Visitors must also wear a face mask and stay in the patient's room or a designated waiting area.

“Because of the nature of the work we do, many sick and vulnerable people come to us every day,” said Mike Baumgartner, regional president of SSM Health in mid-Missouri. “In that heightened exposure environment, it is important that we continue to exercise caution even as the state reopens. Our top priority is the safety of our patients, our staff and our community.”

Visitors must enter through the Outpatient Entrance between 5 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on the weekend.

UPDATE 6:15 P.M.: A positive COVID-19 test of a resident at The Neighborhoods by TigerPlace nursing home has now been deemed inconclusive, the company that owns the facility said Wednesday.

The Neighborhoods by TigerPlace
The Neighborhoods by TigerPlace.

A resident who tested positive last week for COVID-19 has since been tested twice and both subsequent tests were negative, according to a news release from Americare.

The company says health officials have told it that the home's in-room quarantine can be lifted and that testing of all residents and staff will not be necessary.

The resident who initially tested positive and that person's roommate will be returned to their normal rooms, according to the release.

“We are pleased to learn of this result. This return to non-quarantine operations, does not mean we have in any way let down our guard or are stopping any of our protective measures, including daily monitoring, temperature checks and aggressive cleanliness,” Patricia Cokingtin, senior vice president of Americare, said in the release.

All of the residents and staff were tested last month after an employee tested positive. No other cases were found at that time.

Visitors have not been allowed in the nursing home and group activities halted since March 13.

UPDATE 5:40 P.M.: Columbia and Boone County health officials are warning the public about a person who tested positive for COVID-19 and spent time at a pool.

The health department said in a news release that people who were at the Brookside Midtown pool at 1221 E. Walnut St. on Friday should monitor themselves for symptoms. The department said anyone at the pool that day might have been in close contact with an infectious person.

“With the recent uptick in positive Covid-19 cases in Columbia and the health department’s information about a possible visit to the Midtown pool, we are continuing to urge residents to follow all public health guidance and recommendations, including getting tested if symptomatic," Brookside spokesman Jack Cardetti said in a statement to ABC 17 News. "Additionally, we will be implementing a pool reservation system moving forward.”

UPDATE 5 P.M.: Boone, Cole and Cooper were among the Mid-Missouri counties reporting new COVID-19 cases Wednesday.

The trend continued in Boone County with eight new COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday. It was the second day in a row the county reported eight new cases and continues the increase in cases after a period of slow growth for parts of April and May.

Boone County health officials have reported 34 new cases in the last week alone. Total cases stood at 232 on Wednesday. The health department says 28 percent of the cases are in the black population, which makes up only 8.8 percent of the county's total population.

One Boone County resident was hospitalized as of Wednesday and 53 were in quarantine because of contact with a known case. The county reported 43 active cases, up four from Tuesday.

Cole County reported its first new case since May 25 on Wednesday to bring the county's total to 58 cases. The county now has two active cases of COVID-19.

Cooper County health officials received notification of three more cases this week, bringing that county's total to 11. The health department received notification Tuesday of the ninth and 10th cases and was notified of the 11th case Wednesday.

The ninth case was travel-related. The patient had made daily trips to Walmart and was at Main Street Pub on Friday, the health department said in a news release.

The department said the 10th case was because of work-related exposure at a job outside Cooper County. The 11th case was a family member of someone who had already tested positive, the department said.

UPDATE 2:45 P.M.: Missouri saw its largest increase in COVID-19 deaths since May 30 because of a delay in reporting.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said the state added 27 coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total to 909. Missouri added 33 deaths between May 29 and May 30.

The health department said the large increase in deaths stems from a delay in reporting from a Missouri jurisdiction. A tweet from the department said some of the deaths reported Wednesday happened outside of the past 24 hours.

State health workers said in a tweet Missouri COVID-19 cases were up by more than 200 from Tuesday. At least 16,625 have tested positive for coronavirus as of Wednesday afternoon.

The state has added about 1,500 COVID-19 cases over the past week. Wednesday's increase makes the eighth day this month that Missouri has seen case increases of more than 200 and the third day in a row.

According to health department data, 61 Missourians have died from COVID-19 since May 10.

UPDATE 12:50 P.M.: Capital Region Medical Center said Wednesday that it will ease visitor restrictions put in place because of COVID-19.

The hospital starting Thursday will allow one visitor per patient per day during visiting hours, which are from 6 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. Visitors to inpatient units will have to wear a mask and remain in the patient room. Visitors will have to bring their own masks.

People accompanying patients to outpatient procedures, surgeries and clinic visits can stay with the patient or in waiting areas while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Capital Region, an affiliate of University of Missouri Health Care, said policies will be adjusted as needed.

Westminster to bring students back early

An aerial view of Westminster College in Fulton.

Westminster College in Fulton said Tuesday it will start its fall semester Aug. 12 to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move is designed to allow the semester to end earlier in the fall, when health experts say a surge in COVID-19 cases is possible.

Classes will take place on Labor Day and the last final exam will take place Nov. 21, the school said in a news release.

The schedule will also allow Westminster to lengthen its virtual winter session that typically takes place during the holiday break between semesters.

The college is also getting ready to switch all its classes to an online-only format if the need arises, the release said. Precautions are being put in place on campus including social distancing guides, plastic shields in offices and a plan to disinfect all classrooms daily.

UPDATE 11:10 A.M.: Seven inmates and seven staff members at the Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center in Vandalia have tested positive for COVID-19, according to reporting by the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Six inmates and six staff tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, the Department of Corrections reported. Seven staff and seven inmates have tested positive overall.

Department spokeswoman Karen Pojmann said in an email that the department has tested all inmates who show symptoms of COVID-19 or might have been exposed to the coronavirus throughout the pandemic. Those tested are quarantined pending the test results and those who test positive are put in isolation, Pojmann said.

Staff who test positive are sent home to quarantine and must have two negative tests before returning to work. Other staff members who had contact with an employee who tested positive must quarantine at home for two weeks and test negative before returning. Pojmann said.

State officials are testing all prison inmates and staff as part of a ramped up testing plan. Pojmann said the testing revealed some asymptomatic cases at the Vandalia women's prison and at the men's prison in Bonne Terre.

So far three prisons have been free of cases, Pojmann said.

The department has started testing all prisoners coming into the system and testing prisoners one week before they are released, Pojmann said.

Face coverings have been given to staff and inmates in Missouri prisons and staff wear N95 masks when working with inmates who have tested positive or possible been exposed to COVID-19. Pojmann said inmates are also kept in stable groups to reduce the spread of the virus.

ORIGINAL: The Cooper County Fair Board said an abbreviated version of its annual fair will go on with restrictions in place because of COVID-19.

A release from the fair board said large events have been canceled. The fair board scheduled a drive-thru barbecue fundraiser in support of the fair on June 27 outside the Fairgrounds exhibit building from 4-7 p.m.

Livestock will be shown at the fair from July 18-July 23, the release said. Board members say social distancing will be in place at in-person events.

Cooper County FFA and 4H projects will also be shown at the fair, the fair board said.

The fair board announced in late May it was taking suggestions on how to operate the county fair after it was canceled at the beginning of the month.

The Cooper County Health Department said Tuesday it has confirmed 10 cases of COVID-19. Health workers said on Facebook there are two active cases in the county.

Boonville / Cooper / Email Alert – Breaking News / News / Top Stories

ABC 17 News Team

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