Boyle Co. hospital plans for surge in COVID-19 patients as cases rise

Posted at 11:33 PM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 23:33:57-04

DANVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center leaders are preparing for a potential surge in COVID-19 patients after the hospital's coronavirus unit was full for a period last week.

According to Dr. Chris Petrey, a critical care and infectious disease physician for Ephraim McDowell Health, the Danville hospital's 17 bed COVID-19 unit was at capacity last week and three people were on a ventilator.

On Tuesday, the COVID-19 unit had four open beds, according to Petrey.

"With the fact that we have already had one point where we've already filled all of our beds, I think that says that we're headed for an uptick and definitely headed for a surge," Petrey said.

Boyle and multiple surrounding counties have been designated as either in the "orange" or "red zone" by the state for its number of coronavirus cases.

"You wonder what are we gonna do at the point that, you know, we are full?" he said. "And are we gonna have enough staff to take care of those patients?"

If the hospital reaches capacity again, patients can be transferred within the Ephraim McDowell Health system, said Jason Dean, executive director of clinical effectiveness for Ephraim McDowell Health.

That includes Fort Logan Hospital in Stanford and James B. Haggin Hospital in Harrodsburg.

Ephraim McDowell also has partnerships with Lexington hospitals, according to Dean.

Since March, about 3 percent of Ephraim McDowell Health's 1,700 employees have tested positive for the virus, he said.

Dean said the hospital is reminding employees to follow all coronavirus safety guidelines to stay healthy.

"We've got to make sure that we retain our staff," he said. "We're talking about that daily to make sure everybody's doing the right thing."