CoronavirusFeaturedHealthNewsThe NorthSider

Health care systems launch pandemic task force

ST. LOUIS – Major health care systems in the St. Louis region have set up a St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force. Involved in the task force are BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSMHealth and St. Luke’s Hospital.

The task force’s mission is to ensure collaboration and coordination of supplies, hospital beds and other critical assets. It plans daily public briefings about regional efforts to stop the spread of the virus.

St. Louis health director Dr. Fredrick Echols and Mayor Lyda Krewson attend the launching on April 4, 2020, of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus. Photo courtesy of the city of St. Louis
Mayor Lyda Krewson and other area leaders made the announcement Saturday, April 4, at St. Louis University High School, 4970 Oakland Ave. in the Kings Oak neighborhood.

After the announcement, she said via Twitter: “COVID19 is a deadly serious situation for our metro & the next few weeks are critical. Today, I joined regional healthcare & elected leaders to unveil a new pandemic task force.”

She noted the “unprecedented collaboration” among the region’s leaders as everyone seeks to slow the spread of the virus and save lives. 

As of late Friday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Missouri reached 2,113, up 279, or 15 percent, from Thursday. The number of infections has increased more than eight-fold in the past 10 days. Nineteen people have died of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, issued a statewide stay-at-home order Friday, meaning Missouri has joined about 40 other states requiring residents to avoid going out except for essential purposes. The statewide order takes effect Monday and expires April 24.

Missouri is asking medical professionals who are not working to join a specialized state team that responds to critical health emergencies.

“We are calling on all available medical professionals to support the effort to fight the virus by joining a critical reserve unit now focusing on providing care in high need areas across the state,” Parson said in a news release Saturday. “Their efforts can help save the lives of their fellow Missourians.”

Selected medical workers would become part of the Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team. The state is asking health care students, retired health care workers and those whose professional registration recently expired to apply online for the team.

People are needed who have backgrounds in medicine, nursing, allied health, dentistry, biomedicine, laboratory science, logistics and communications.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Staff is home to The NorthSider and The SouthSider weekly community newspapers. The SouthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Tuesday. The NorthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Thursday. They are distributed at over 600 locations across St. Louis.

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