Ozarks Medical Center latest updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Prepared for our Community.


Visit Howell County Health Department for COVID-19 news and local testing results.

For the latest updates from the CDC.

OMC Behavioral Healthcare Offers Help Amid Pandemic

Ozarks Medical Center (OMC) Behavioral Healthcare (BHC) has been selected by the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH) Office of Disaster Services to implement a COVID Crisis Counseling Program (CCP) in addition to the mental health services it currently provides to the surrounding counties.

OMC Behavioral Healthcare will utilize its CCP program to provide outreach services to the community such as; COVID-19 education, methods to protect against infection, and information on how to cope with related stress and anxiety. Linkage to resources will include; job search information, counseling services, medication management services, unemployment services, and housing support.

The initial program launch will be centered around OMC Behavioral Healthcare’s recently launched COVID-19 Help & Resource Line. This helpline will provide free and confidential support, helping callers experiencing increased anxiety due to the coronavirus emergency. The Helpline is staffed by volunteers and mental health professionals who are here to help. Call 417-256-1777 to access this service Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

OMC Behavioral Health COVID-19 Help & Resource Line Operators from left to right: Melissa Daily, Resource Coordinator; Wendy Rhoads, Team Lead; Lorrie Bettis, Resource Coordinato; all of OMC Behavioral Health.


OMC Recommends Being Proactive While the Community Re-Opens: May 4, 2020

As the community prepares for a cautious reopening, Ozarks Medical Center (OMC) continues proactive practices to keep patients safe at the hospital. The single-point-entrance into the hospital at the Emergency Department entrance as well as current visitor restrictions will remain in place for the near future. Read more: http://www.ozarksmedicalcenter.com/Press-Center/COVID-19/20202/Ozarks-Medical-Center-Recommends-Being-Proactive.aspx


OMC Implements Cost-Reduction Plan: April 10, 2020

Over the past few weeks, OMC has experienced some challenging times, unprecedented and prolonged changes to how we live and work. As the regional care system for southern Missouri, we are particularly in touch with how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing people’s lives and the life of OMC.

Healthcare organizations have a responsibility to the communities we serve. As an organization, OMC has to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Preparing for the worst has consequences; some caused by our actions, but most caused by the world dealing with a pandemic. To look out and not see that even our world around southern Missouri is different, would be to not acknowledge the devastation to small businesses, to families, to individuals that will miss their final semester in high school, to lasting impacts on our communities and even on OMC.

The reality of OMC today is vastly different than last month. People are staying at home as they should. We have completely cancelled all non-time sensitive procedures and tests to preserve personal protective equipment, pharmaceuticals and to practice social distancing. As a result, OMC’s outpatient and inpatient volumes have declined significantly and across nearly every area.

To address the changes and to insure OMCs continued ability to care for patients, OMC will implement the following:

  1. OMC will furlough 114 co-workers including clinical, non-clinical and administrative positions through May 31, 2020.

  2. Executive and Leadership Salaries will be reduced by 20 percent.

In addition to the steps listed above, OMC will announce additional cost saving measures in the days and weeks to come. We are reviewing every possible expense to insure our ability to continue to care for your neighbors, families and friends. With that said, OMC has been in contact with the United States Department of Agriculture regarding the building expansion project.

Our goal is to preserve the ability of OMC to care for the communities we serve and to quickly get back to work when this pandemic ends. We hope and pray for our entire OMC family and wish all of you the very best during this unprecedented time.


A Comprehensive video update describing the many ways in which OMC is preparing for the COVID-19 pandemic: April 3, 2020

OMC Activates COVID-19 Hotline and Virtual Visits: March 27, 2020

Ozarks Medical Center (OMC) is launching a telephone hotline for people to call when they have questions regarding COVID-19 screenings. The number, 417-505-7120, is open 24 hours a day starting Monday, March 30.

OMC Family Medicine clinics remain open for virtual visits and urgent needs. Please call your OMC family medicine clinic for easy instructions on how to set up a virtual visit. For more information visit https://www.ozarksmedicalcenter.com/Family-Medicine.aspx.

OMC Implements additional Visitor Restrictions to continue to Protect Patients and Staff from the Spread of COVID-19: March 24, 2020

OMC medical experts stress that the single most important thing we can all do is to steadfastly continue practicing social distancing.

Ozarks Medical Center (OMC) has again implemented increased levels of visitor restrictions as of March 25, to continue to help reduce the possibility of spreading COVID-19 throughout the community. OMC joins many other healthcare organizations including CoxHealth and Mercy, in proactively deploying these restrictions as recommended by the CDC and the Missouri Department of Health.

An open letter to our communities from OMC President & CEO Tom Keller: March 20, 2020

OMC Expands Visitor Restrictions to help protect patients and staff from spread of COVID-19: March 15, 2020

Ozarks Medical Center (OMC) has implemented a higher level of restrictions as of March 16, to continue to help reduce the possibility of spreading COVID-19 throughout the community. OMC joins many other healthcare organizations in proactively deploying these restrictions as recommended by the CDC and the Missouri Department of Health.

OMC Responds to the Coronavirus: March 13, 2020

Visit Howell County Health Department for COVID-19 news and local testing results.

For the latest updates, visit the CDC website.

Please Review the Coronavirus Facts

from Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

Downloadable Coronavirus Fact Sheet

  • What is novel coronavirus?
    Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus strain that was first detected in December 2019 and has now been detected in almost 90 locations internationally and in the many states in the U.S. The virus, while having mild effects in most people, can cause severe illness and pneumonia in others such as the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions.
  • How does COVID-19 spread?
    Health experts are still learning the details about how COVID-19 spreads from person to person. The most recent evidence points to infected people coughing and sneezing within six feet of a non-infected person. Other methods of transmission may include: * close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands * touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes * in rare cases, contact with feces
  • How severe is COVID-19?
    Upwards of 80% of those infected recover after mild symptoms. Others, especially the elderly and those with serious chronic medical conditions, may experience more severe symptoms including pneumonia that requires hospitalization, and sometimes death.
  • What are the symptoms?
    People who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 have reported symptoms that may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. * Fever * Cough * Difficulty breathing
  • Who is at risk for COVID-19?
    Currently the risk to the general public for COVID-19 to cause severe illness is low. At this time, there are a small number of individual cases in the U.S. Older adults and those with serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease and any condition that affects the immune system could be at higher risk. Additionally, travelers to and from certain areas of the world may be at increased risk. See wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel for the latest travel guidance from the CDC.
  • How can I prevent from gettng COVID-19?
    Practicing correct handwashing skills along with avoiding touching your face. See https://youtu.be/d914EnpU4Fo for a review of proper handwashing techniques. There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19. Everyday precautions range from avoiding close contact with people who are sick to avoiding touching high-touch surfaces in public such as elevator buttons, door handles, handrails and handshakes. Other steps include: * avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands * stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others * cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing CDC continues to stress concerns with international travel. Currently CDC recommends avoiding non-essential travel to China, Iran, South Korea, Italy. Travel to Japan is a concern for older adults or those with chronic medical conditions. See wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel for the latest travel guidance.
  • What do I do if I have symptoms?
    Influenza and other respiratory infections including COVID-19 have similar if not identical signs and symptoms. Individuals who think they are sick or are getting sick should NOT report to work. Individuals should monitor for cough, shortness of breath, and fever and should practice social distancing to avoid the spread of any illness they may have. Individuals experiencing the described symptoms AND have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 should contact their health care provider by phone. Supply information about symptoms and when and how they had contact with a confirmed case. The health care provider may either suggest testing via a commercial lab or involve public health resources. Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms who are a contact to a case should not arrive at a health care provider or emergency room without contacting the provider or emergency room first.
  • How is COVID-19 treated?
    There are no medications specifically approved for COVID-19. Most people with mild coronavirus illness will recover on their own by drinking plenty of fluids, resting, and taking pain and fever medications. However, some cases develop pneumonia and require medical care or hospitalization.

Ozarks Medical Center latest update on the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Prepared for our Community.

For up-to-the-minute news from the CDC.

Watch A Very Important Video from the CDC

What the Experts Say

Comments from State and Federal Agencies

  • “I am confident in the work of the Department of Health and Senior Services and the St. Louis County Public Health Department and know that they will do what they can to protect the health and safety of Missouri communities,”
    - Governor Mike Parson
  • “We are committed to bringing you the most up-to-date information as we tackle COVID-19 head on. We will continue to assist the St. Louis County Health Department, and our thoughts are certainly with this patient and family.”
    - DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams
  • "We continue to work with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to help us prepare for an outbreak locally. We plan to continue to track, prepare and implement the best practices in order to keep our communities safe."
    - Kurt Abbey, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer, Ozarks Medical Center

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