Hospitals continue to prepare for increased number of COVID-19 cases

Posted at 8:12 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 21:38:17-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Many hospitals are bracing for a surge in patients as the coronavirus continues to spread through the state.

Rigorous hand-washing, staying home if you're sick and social distancing are all parts of the effort to flatten the curve and lessen the stress on hospitals. Of course, many, including UK, are already taking steps to meet the demand and to ensure there are enough supplies to effectively treat patients.

"There's what we have now, but of course there's what we have in response to a surge. So we hope supply to increase down the road, and we hope to meet that demand moving forward," Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine Derek Forster said.

Some of those considerations are already in effect. There is limited observing in the operating theater and doctors are making tough decisions as they postpone elective procedures.

"You cannot have just one list and one bucket, and everyone fall into those need categories," Associate Chief Medical Officer Dr. Chris DeSimone said.

Right now, UK Hospital says it has diagnosed three patients with the coronavirus. One patient was already admitted and released. The other two were isolated at home and monitored by the health department.

"One of those two was admitted last (Tuesday) night when the health department noted that they had felt like they had some worsening symptoms. That patient is in fair condition as we speak," Dr. Forster said.

More patients are expected over the coming weeks and Gov. Beshear is trying to secure more supplies in Kentucky. UK just purchased more ventilators and will continue evaluating what they have, and how much more is needed to keep up with the pandemic.

The chief medical officer for CHI St. Joseph Health, Dr. Dan Goulson, released a statement when we asked about their continued preparations:

"We have been working on preparedness plans for weeks and meet multiple times daily to discuss the current situation in Kentucky. There are shortages for some supplies nationwide; we check our state of supplies hourly. We are working with state and national resources to replenish supplies when needed. We follow the regularly updated CDC guidelines for use of supplies and personal protective equipment.

"We follow the guidelines from the Kentucky Department for Public Health regarding screening and testing for COVID-19. We will be postponing elective procedures in line with Governor Andy Beshear's directive and the recommendation of the U.S. Surgeon General. This will allow us to protect our patients, conserve supplies and equipment, and ensure clinical staff are available to address the most critical patient needs."