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story.lead_photo.caption St. Mary's Hospital sits on Mission Drive. SSM and MU Health announced in August 2018 they were negotiating the possible sale of SSM Health's St. Mary's Hospital in Jefferson City and Mexico (the former Audrain Medical Center) and their associated clinics, following SSM's decision to leave the Mid-Missouri marketplace. Photo by Kris Wilson / California Democrat.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, area hospitals are working to prevent, screen and treat the virus.

In Columbia, University Hospital has limited public entrance at University Hospital, Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, Missouri Psychiatric Center, Women's and Children's Hospital and Missouri Orthopaedic Institute; all visitors will be screened and approved with a bracelet. Elective procedures are cancelled for high-risk patients older than 60 or those with one or more additional conditions occurring with primary conditions, patients with hospital stays longer than two days and procedures requiring extensive use of personal protective equipment. Free video screening is available by downloading the MU Health Care Video Visits app or by visiting muhealthvideovisits.com.

Along with that, drive-thru testing is available in the MU softball stadium parking lot daily from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. for those with a fever, cough and sore throat as well as those with exposure to a known person who has tested positive and those who have traveled to an area where transmission is occurring.

Boone Hospital has implemented a no-visitor policy. There are some exceptions for patients in Obstetrics, Nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care, Pediatrics, the emergency department, patients at the end-of-life, patients with behavioral needs and those with an appointment in an outpatient or procedural area or medical office. Visitors will be screened before entering and must remain with their patient at all times. Boone has also stopped elective procedures to conserve resources needed for COVID-19 and to be ready to meet increasing health needs. They have also canceled classes and events through April.

In Jefferson City, St. Mary's Hospital has suspended visitation; some visitors over the age of 18 may be allowed under certain circumstances such as compassionate care, Family Birth Center patients are allowed one primary support person and pediatric patients are allowed one parent or guardian. Visitors, as well as employees, will undergo health screenings and temperature checks. St. Mary's has canceled elective procedures meaning care that can be delayed for eight weeks or more.

The hospital is offering free online evaluations at www.ssmhealth.com/covid19. It will begin with an online assessment of symptoms and potential exposure, then an evaluation with an SSM Health Medical Group provider. If testing is required, St. Mary's Hospital has drive-thru testing at the Health Plaza East Entrance at 2505 Mission Drive, open from noon to 4 p.m.

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