NewsCovering Kentucky


Impact of hospitalization surge goes beyond medical center walls

Posted at 7:05 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 19:10:53-05

LEE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — As cases continue to rise in Kentucky, the number of hospitalizations are surging as well.

Right now, 82 COVID-19 positive inpatients are being treated at UK Hospital, and 20 are in the ICU. This is the highest number at the hospital since the pandemic began.

That number has more than doubled since October 22, when there were 38 COVID-19 patients at the hospital.

Ahead of a potential post-Thanksgiving surge, UK officials announced they will be closing five operating rooms at UK Chandler Hospital to increase capacity for COVID-infected patients.

The power of the pandemic goes beyond the hospital walls.

"Well it's no secret that our current situation is pretty dire," said Jon Allen, the Lee County EMS Director.

Seventy-five miles from UK Hospital, Jon Allen is trying to roll with the punches the pandemic is packing.

"I feel like this week I've weathered the perfect storm," said Allen.

There's no hospital in Lee County, so his two ambulances and 20 staff members have to go on a 50 mile-round trip just to transport a patient.

"We have seen that run volume increase, and COVID is the primary reason," said Allen. "Our ambulance service will make anywhere from 35, 36 runs pretty consistently each week. That's where our number is. Since COVID, we're making 49, 50 (ambulance runs) each week."

To make matters worse, there are currently five EMS responders isolating due to a positive test.

"We've pretty much had all hands on deck. It's cost us a lot of overtime but that's perfectly fine. Our main concern is the well-being of our citizens here in Lee County. We're going to do whatever it takes to make sure those people are taken care of," said Allen.