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story.lead_photo.caption Capital Region Medical Center Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

After canceling elective procedures early this spring to help avoid the spread of COVID-19, Jefferson City's hospitals are finding their new normal.

Early last week, Lindsay Huhman, director of marketing at Capital Region Medical Center, reported business is picking up at the hospital.

"While we are not at the level of pre-COVID-19 productivity, we are seeing steady growth in cases," Huhman said. "Our teams are doing well. It's good to be busier again. And we hope that trend continues."

All services St. Mary's Hospital offers are available right now, said Stephen Stewart, vice president of medical affairs for the Mid-Missouri region of SSM Health.

"We experienced a significant drop in volume — both here locally and as a system — due to pausing our elective procedures and surgeries," Steward said. "We have been steadily increasing volume after beginning those again early in May."

St. Mary's Hospital is "on track" to return to pre-COVID-19 volumes, he continued.

The hospital began again scheduling elective surgeries and procedures May 4 and has steadily increased the volume of those procedures, he told the News Tribune in an email.

"While the threat of COVID-19 continues, we strongly encourage patients not to postpone care, particularly individuals with chronic illnesses, urgent or emergency conditions, as well as those needing biopsies and other diagnostic procedures," Stewart said. "While it's natural to be concerned, not seeking care could negatively impact their overall health and well-being."

St. Mary's Hospital, like other health care providers, has taken steps to keep patients, visitors and caregivers safe:

All patients received COVID-19 testing prior to scheduled procedures.

It has enhanced cleaning and disinfection processes.

Waiting room seating is realigned to ensure appropriate physical distancing.

Visitor restrictions limit unnecessary traffic.

It screens all employees, patients and visitors at entrances to facilities, and it requires provided hand sanitation

All patients, visitors and staff are required to wear masks.

Stewart would not say exactly how many COVID-19 patients the hospital had treated but described the number as small.

Huhman said Capital Region Medical Center has treated three COVID-19-positive patients.

St. Mary's Hospital staff and physicians have so far successfully navigated the ever-changing environment, adjusting to multiple new policies and processes, Stewart said.

"We know that this is going to be with us long term, so we are planning for that," he said. "Health care workers are used to working under stressful conditions. And the pandemic has provided an opportunity for all of us to pull together and work seamlessly as a team."

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