By Nate Blackford, Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville president

As we enter the third year of the COVID pandemic, I know we all look forward to the day the virus is under control and the pandemic, at least as we know it, is over.

The last two years have been an exhausting and trying time for healthcare workers and organizations, but it remains our honor and privilege to care for our communities. With all the information we share, our goal is simple: reduce the spread of COVID and ensure we have the capacity to care for all of our community’s healthcare needs.

On Tuesday of this week, Mosaic held a press conference in St. Joseph. In attendance for Mosaic were Dr. Mark Laney, chief executive officer, Dr. Edward Kammerer, chief quality officer, and Dr. Davin Turner, chief medical officer and president of Mosaic in St. Joseph.

The primary purpose of the press conference was to update everyone with latest information, as hospitals in our region from KC to Omaha are experiencing high COVID numbers resulting in increased volumes throughout our collective facilities and broad staffing shortages. Moreover, looking at the “leading indicator” of positivity rate, we expect hospitalizations to increase further in the near term.

At the same time, the press conference was intended to reassure our communities we are here to care for you, your friends and your families. The Mosaic health system, which includes medical centers in St. Joseph, Maryville and Albany, works continuously to ensure staffing is appropriate at all facilities and labors together to navigate critical issues and concerns. Our collective aim is to make sure our patients receive the care they need at the right time and right place by “pooling” our critical resources together across our medical centers and clinics.

That said, below are a few key takeaways from the press conference.

So, what is the current state of COVID within the Mosaic system?

• Current COVID hospitalizations: 73 or approximately 25 percent of our total inpatients

• 7-day positivity rate: 38 percent.

How effective is the vaccine when it comes to COVID-related hospitalizations and mortality?

• 80 percent of those hospitalized at Mosaic have been unvaccinated.

• 96 percent of those who have died at Mosaic were unvaccinated.

In an effort to help community members find appropriate testing locations including pharmacies, Mosaic created a COVID testing hotline available 24/7. The number for that hotline is 855.577.0221. Established Mosaic patients are encouraged to see their primary care provider. Callers are also informed the emergency department is not a primary COVID testing site. Please help us keep our emergency department available for those needing additional care and for those experiencing trauma and emergency situations. For those wanting to talk directly with a nurse, please call our 24/7 nurse line at 816.271.4000.

When it comes to our ability to care for patients who require our services, we need each of the following available: staff, supplies, equipment and physical space. Right now, our biggest risk is staff.

Currently, as a system, we have over 100 caregivers out with COVID, 20 of which are part of the Maryville organization. That said, our caregivers have done a tremendous job picking up extra shifts, working additional hours, etc. to ensure we have adequate staffing. Moreover, we are constantly reassessing how to ease staffing pressures, including deferring elective procedures to allow clinical caregivers to help in other more emergent areas.

Quick aside: I would like to thank our caregivers again publicly for their dedication and resilience. They are truly an amazing group of humans that care deeply for our communities and our patients and are committed to doing whatever it takes to help us get through this challenging time. Our caregivers continue to provide the best and safest care possible.

When it comes to supplies, Mosaic has a strong inventory of personal protective equipment, ventilators and other supplies needed to battle COVID, the flu and normal hospital needs. In anticipation of a possible surge, supplies were bulked up before the holidays to increase our confidence in supply availability. Mosaic has put in a request for additional ventilators to the Region H Healthcare Coalition, if the need should arise.

So, how can you help if you are not feeling well?

• Make an appointment with your primary care provider. If you don’t have a provider, please do not wait until you are sick to find one.

• Our Walk-in Clinic in Maryville and Urgent Care Clinic in St. Joseph are there to provide more immediate medical care for non-emergency, acute illness or injury.

• The emergency department should be reserved for the severely ill, trauma or emergency situations and is not a primary COVID testing site.


In closing and to reiterate, Mosaic is proud to provide the best and safest care for our communities. At the same time, it’s important to keep you updated, in the most transparent way possible, so you can understand what we are facing at this time and help us ensure we will continue to have the capacity to care for all your healthcare needs.