NewsLEX 18 Investigates


Nutter Field House field hospital closed, enough beds for COVID-19 patients at UK, official says

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Posted at 10:05 AM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 18:20:59-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The field hospital at Nutter Field House, which was going to treat additional COVID-19 patients if needed, is closed.

UK spokesman Jay Blanton says there should be enough hospitals beds reserved at the University of Kentucky hospital if there is a surge of coronavirus patients.

"Based on the data, models we don't need that field hospital," said Blanton.

Blanton said the nearly seven million dollar temporary field hospital will be dismantled soon, before May 20. He told LEX 18 it's a good thing not a single bed was used.

"Frankly, we're thankful we didn't have to use a bed. That was money well spent, we were prepared for the worst case," reiterated Blanton.

The $6.7 million dollar field hospital was paid for by UK Healthcare. No tax or tuition dollars used. UK has asked FEMA for reimbursement, but so far, there has been no decision on if that will happen.

While UK Healthcare paid for the field hospital, 1,500 hospital workers were furloughed. Blanton says with elective procedures returning to the hospital, most of the workers should be back on the job in coming weeks.

On Thursday, May 7, LEX 18 learned the cost of the "just-in-case" hospital was $6,722,800, according to the university, after filing an open records request.