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UK HealthCare to temporarily close five operating rooms to make room for more COVID-19 patients

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Posted at 10:33 AM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 10:34:14-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — UK Healthcare is closings five of its 32 operating rooms (ORs) at UK Chandler Hospital beginning Monday, Nov. 30. The goal is to make room for more patients with COVID-19 and to decrease overall hospital admissions.

In a news release, UK Healthcare says the move does not affect the 10 ORs at UK Good Samaritan Hospital or eight ORs in the Center for Advanced Surgery.

The move also allows additional personnel and resources to be redeployed to other areas that need additional staff. Officials call the temporary closures a "proactive decision" as surgeons, nurses, and coordinators use the time to inform and reschedule patients.

Officials say elective procedures will continue and employees will not be furloughed.

Kentucky is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases. The state's current positivity rate is 8.97%.

Predictive models suggest there will be an increase in COVID-19 cases three weeks from now as people meet with others for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Additional closures will be considered by UK HealthCare if they experience a surge beyond 90 total COVID patients. The current reduction is estimated to last through the month of December and will be evaluated weekly.

"Closing ORs is no easy decision. It impacts our staff, physicians and patients in many expected and sometimes unexpected ways," Dr. Mark F. Newman, University of Kentucky Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, said. "However, this is the right decision for the uncertainty that lies ahead."