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BJC HealthCare Affiliates Postpone Elective Procedures, Boone Hospital Center Excluded

BJC HealthCare will postpone some elective procedures and surgeries for eight weeks in 14 of its 15 hospitals and ambulatory facilities starting Nov. 16.

Boone Hospital Center will be the lone hospital continuing to offer elective surgeries.

“We are not at this point suspending elective procedures,” said Ben Cornelius, Director of Marketing at Boone Hospital Center. “We base our decisions on central Missouri and our capacity, our staffing, and other metrics."

Boone Hospital Center has increased beds in its COVID-19 unit from 20 to 32 to meet new capacity needs, according to previous Missourian reporting.

There were 153 COVID-19 inpatients in the county as of Nov. 15, according to Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services. There were 99 hospitalizations Oct. 30, as previously reported in the Missourian.

“Postponing elective procedures could be done if we get to that point, but up until now we have not needed to do that,” Cornelius said.

In 2018, Boone Hospital Center and BJC HealthCare agreed to separate when the lease agreement expired at the end of 2020. However, the transition was delayed until April 1, 2020 because of the pandemic, according to previous Missourian reporting.

Cornelius noted that St. Louis is in a different region. The daily net hospitalizations of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases rose by 181 patients last week in the St. Louis region. There were a total of 710 patients across BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSM Health and St. Luke's on Nov. 14, according to data released by the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force.

“With the rise of coronavirus cases in our region and COVID-19 admissions already higher than they have been at any point during the pandemic, we are preparing for the inevitable surge we will see in COVID patients," Clay Dunagan, Senior Vice President at BJC HealthCare, said in a video Sunday.