Published on March 17, 2020

OMC Responds to the Novel Coronavirus

OMC and the Emergency Management Team announced that OMC facilities would start restricting visitors to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the illness known as the coronavirus.

There are three restrictions that residents in Howell County and the surrounding counties must be aware of when visiting OMC facilities.

  1. Children ages 12 and under who are not seeking treatment are asked to avoid the hospital.
  2. Anyone who has had a fever or who has felt sick within the previous 24 hours, and is not receiving treatment, should avoid visiting all OMC facilities for the protection of others including the hospital, and outpatient clinics.
  3. Anyone with a scheduled appointment at an OMC facility should attend alone unless extra assistance is needed. Everyone should check their temperature before arriving at a facility. If they experience a fever before arrival, please call to reschedule.

“We are taking every precaution available to protect and care for our patients,” said Dr. Ritu Kathuria, OMC Hospitalist who specializes in infectious disease. "OMC will continue to follow all CDC and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services protocols and policies."

If you have questions about exposure or symptoms, please call 877-435-8411 to be screened before going to the emergency department or your primary care provider. According to the CDC and experts at OMC, there are some important steps for prevention.  

  • Practice hand hygiene all the time. (It’s crucial.) Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Using hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol is an effective alternative. Both should be done frequently.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Practice the six-foot rule. If you must be in a public space and notice someone ill, keep that distance to lessen your risk.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wearing a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms to help prevent the spread of diseases.

These guidelines are similar to those that would be in place for a tough flu season.

“We will continue to work with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to help us prepare for any possible local cases,” said Tom Keller, President and CEO. “We plan to continue to track, prepare and implement the best practices to keep our communities safe.”  

Under preventative measures, OMC has canceled two community education events scheduled for March 20 in Mountain Grove and March 26 in West Plains.


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