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Rep. Basye speaks on mother’s COVID-19 case

Rudi Keller
rkeller@columbiatribune.com
Rep. Chuck Basye

State Rep. Chuck Basye was released from quarantine Thursday, two weeks after driving his elderly mother to Boone Hospital Center and discovering she had COVID-19.

Basye, R-Rocheport, said Friday that he was tested and the results were negative, but he is worried about his mother’s lack of contact with family as she undergoes treatment.

His mother, Joanne Basye, is 86 and she lives with congestive heart failure and other ailments, Basye said. She and his father, Ben Basye, will celebrate their 66th wedding anniversary in December, he said.

The Boone Hospital staff set up a Zoom call with the family on Thursday, he said.

"It’s hard to see her and you can tell she’s in distress,“ Basye said. ”She kept crying and saying ‘I want to go home, I just want to go home.’”

It gives him insight into the stress on people living in nursing homes and other group facilities that have been cut off from contact by no-visitor policies set early in the pandemic, Basye said.

“They have not seen their loved ones since March in many cases,” Basye said. “They’ve seen them through a window, but its just a terrible thing. I am not saying that’s bad, I actually kind of wish we could do something different, but I am not faulting that policy.’

The state did, in fact, relax the policy on visitors to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities on Thursday. The new guidance means facilities must allow visits by ombudsmen and outside health care providers.

And facilities that have had no cases for 14 days — or no cases at all — may allow visits indoors and group visits with two people outdoors. Residents may designate up to five people as visitors.

The relaxed policies require everyone entering a facility to follow safety protocols for COVID-19. Basye said he is glad to see the changes and that he thinks it will be good for the mental health of residents.

The virus is hardest on older people, with about half of Missouri’s deaths occurring among people over 80.

Basye drove his mother to Boone because she was having trouble breathing and he thought it was linked to her cardiac condition, he said. The hospital tested her for the coronavirus as part of its intake procedure and she was positive.

His father has been tested twice and was negative both times, Basye said.

There have been difficulties, he said, with his mother having trouble sleeping and fighting organ failure in her kidneys. The prognosis has been looking up in the past few days.

“She can’t quite understand that she can’t have visitors,” he said.

Joanne Basye is among a growing number of inpatients in Columbia hospitals. On Friday, the health department reported 41 new cases but hospitalizations hit a new peak with 63 people total, including 14 Boone County residents, being treated as inpatients.

There are more ICU beds in use, 26, and ventilators, 15, for COVID-19 patients than at any time previously and both Boone, with 18, and University of Missouri Hospital, with 37, have their highest COVID-19 patient counts.

State situation

Missouri reported the highest number of new cases in a single day for almost two months as it recorded the 17th consecutive day of 1,000 or more cases on Friday.

The Department of Health and Senior Services reported 1,987 new cases, second only to the 2,084 reported on July 30. Prior to July 21, there had been no cases with more than 1,000 new infections.

The department reported 42 additional deaths on Friday, but those are not all recent deaths, spokeswoman Lisa Cox wrote in an email.

“We are continuing to work with local public health agencies on the transition from the old disease surveillance system to the new one,” she wrote.

Greene County updated its cases in the shared system, she said, adding 29 deaths in that county alone.

"Locally, these deaths had already been reported in the previous weeks,“ she wrote.

University of Missouri

The University of Missouri has sanctioned sanctioned 20 people for COVID-19 safety violations after finding the violated rules limiting gatherings as outlined in local health orders.

The list includes five students suspended through May, 14 on probation and facing suspensions if another violation occurs and one who won’t be able to enroll until the violations are addressed, according to a news release.

The university had previously announced actions toward expelling or suspending five students for flagrant violations of safety policies and regulations related to COVID.

“We continue to be extremely pleased that the vast majority of our students are complying with the policies and regulations related to COVID safety on the campus,” Bill Stackman, vice chancellor for student affairs, said in the release.

The university has warned that it will be harsh with sanctions for violations and the Office of Student Accountability and Support is working to hold students accountable, Stackman said.

“The discipline announced today is for egregious violations of our rules related to the safety of our campus,” he said.

The Columbia-Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department has issued health orders banning public or private gatherings of 20 or more people outside of approved venues.

To date, approximately 540 cases have been referred to the Office of Student Accountability and Support for investigation.

There were 15 new cases of COVID-19 among MU reported Friday on the university’s COVID-19 dashboard.

There were 95 active cases among students, unchanged from Thursday because 15 students had recovered. There were no new cases among faculty and staff.

rkeller@columbiatribune.com

573-815-1709