Governor Parson Highlights Efforts of Missouri Hospitals to Adapt and Respond to COVID-19

APRIL 13, 2020

 — In today’s COVID-19 briefing, Governor Mike Parson highlighted efforts of hospitals across the state to adapt and respond to COVID-19 in Missouri. 

Governor Parson was joined by Missouri Hospital Association President and CEO Herb Kuhn, Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten, and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Director Dr. Randall Williams. 

“From converting ICU beds to training health care personnel and establishing remote testing sites, our hospital and health care workers have responded to COVID-19 without hesitation,” Governor Parson said. “They have been working 24/7 on the frontlines of this crisis, risking their own health to care for fellow Missourians. We cannot thank them enough for their hard work and dedication at all times, but especially right now.”

Hospitals in all areas of the state are working together with local, state, and federal officials to coordinate activities, deploy supplies, and capture regular data and situational information from across the state. 

Hospitals have reacted swiftly to ensure health care staff can test and isolate patients testing positive or under investigation for COVID-19 and care for both patients and health care workers in a safe environment. This has included revamping hospital operations to support testing and treatment as well as educating the public on the guidelines for hospital visitors and disease prevention.

In addition, hospitals have been busy re-configuring their operations to meet the current demand and new capacity needs:

  • Building capacity to support the surge – converted or added more than 1,000 intensive care beds
  • Established remote testing sites to protect the public and health care workers
  • Constantly tracking hospital capacity and PPE supplies
  • Coordination with fellow hospitals and local, state, and federal officials

“We have an excellent health care system, and I am extremely proud of and confident in our hospitals as we continue to fight COVID-19,” Governor Parson said.

Also at today’s briefing, Governor Parson announced that DHSS is encouraging individuals who are fully recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma to help current COVID-19 patients.

Historically, convalescent plasma has been used to prevent or treat new viral diseases when other treatments or vaccines were not available. People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that have the potential to work against the virus. 

The plasma obtained from the blood of people who recovered from COVID-19 (convalescent plasma) is being evaluated as treatment for hospitalized patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections or those judged by a health care provider to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease. Blood specimens may also be used to better understand patients’ immune responses to COVID-19 to assist development of new therapies and vaccines.

Those who are fully recovered from a verified coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnosis can contact the health care institution in their area to be evaluated for eligibility. These are unpaid, voluntary donations. 

More information can be found at the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project website and the American Association of Blood Banks website.

To view Governor Parson’s remarks from today’s briefing, please click here. Pictures from the briefing are available on Governor Parson’s Flickr page.