Statement from Bates County Memorial Hospital

Hospital CEO: We Need to Use All Avenues to Help Reduce COVID-19 

This week, Bates County Memorial Hospital saw a plateau in the number of COVID hospitalizations, averaging 2-3 per day, but the daily census remains consistently higher than normal. Their clinics and emergency room continue to see high traffic for respiratory illnesses and testing.  Bates County remains somewhat of a hot spot for COVID-19 cases, ranking 7th in the state for total new cases with 50 reported in the last 7 days (as of 8/16) on the Missouri DHSS COVID-19 dashboard. To date, 33.8% of Bates County residents have initiated a COVID-19 vaccination.  

Other sources are reporting Missouri has peaked. While that is encouraging, students are going back to school, and hospital and clinic staff anticipate another possible wave of cases due to the highly contagious Delta variant.  

Beyond the numbers and the data, it may help to understand the burden a pandemic’s surge places on a hospital, especially in rural areas.  

  • Bio-hazard waste issues and a kink in the food industry supply chain are just two recent examples of unexpected problems that consume more time and energy than Bates County Memorial Hospital employees have to spare. BCMH is handling these problems with no disruption to patient care, but they add to the strain. 
  • Kansas City is currently experiencing surge. The lack of beds creates grave issues for all in the metro area, including rural hospitals, especially the transfer of high acuity and trauma patients. 
  • Patients refusing to wear a mask in the hospital and clinics is still a big concern. Screeners, registration clerks and nurses encounter belligerent patients using abusive language every day over the requirement to wear a mask in their facilities. BCMH considers this a serious safety issue for their employees and has zero tolerance for violence. CDC and OSHA both require all individuals to wear a mask within healthcare facilities regardless of vaccination. 
  • The strain on employees is inevitable. All of Bates County Memorial Hospital’s services and departments remain open, and they are extremely proud of their employees and their dedication. 

What can we do as a community? 

BCMH CEO stated, “We are a sole community hospital, we employ almost 300 people, and we are struggling with staff and beds.  So that tells you what type of crisis we are having here, and when we know that the way to stop that from happening is to wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands, and get a COVID vaccine, we would be foolish to not be for all of those avenues to help reduce the COVID population in our community.” 

Photo: Kalinda Dulier, RN geared up in her personal protective equipment, happy to dismiss a COVID patient home.