GREENE COUNTY, Mo. — The Greene County Medical Society sent a letter to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson voicing their support for a statewide shelter-in-place order.
The society is made up of local doctors from Mercy, CoxHealth and Jordan Valley, along with some direct primary care physicians.
The group’s president, pediatric doctor Kayce Morton, says they are anxious about seeing COVID-19 numbers increase.
In the letter, the Greene County Medical Society says Missouri must flatten the curve of infection in order to support hospitals and physicians.
“We anticipate an even greater shortage of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for this virus which can be spread easily from person to person and want your support to secure these for every physician, not only those in medical centers but small clinics as well,” the letter said.
The letter proposes three months of sheltering in place in order to meet medical demands. The fear is that hospitals may be overrun starting May 1 if Missouri does not expand action beyond social distancing.
“We are underestimating the potential magnitude of disease and how many people will be severely ill at this time,” the letter said. “For one patient in the hospital for one night, a nurse will need to change her N-95 mask every 4-6 hours (so at least 2-3 masks per nurse per 12-hour shift). The filters are only good to breathe through for 4-6 hours before they become saturated.”
The group also asks for additional methods to sterilize and decontaminate other masks, like surgical masks, as those are single-use.
“The use of ultraviolet light to decontaminate the masks we have may be a way that may be researched and used in this critical time,” the letter said. “There are others. We need permission and protocols to do this.”
As of March 22, Gov. Parson has ordered social distancing and prohibiting groups larger than 10.