Kentucky hospitals struggle to keep up as patients overrun COVID-19 units

Researchers at UK are joining a national study looking at how the virus spreads from person to...
Researchers at UK are joining a national study looking at how the virus spreads from person to person among vaccinated and unvaccinated people.(WKYT)
Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 12:05 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department reported 273 new cases Wednesday.

There have now been more cases in Lexington in August than April through July combined and Kentucky’s hospitals are struggling to keep up.

At UK Hospital, the Covid units are now overrun. UK Health Care’s Chief Medical Officer for perioperative care, Dr. Christopher DeSimone, told us the last few weeks have been tough.

“Hair-raising, and anxiety-inducing,” Dr. DeSimone said. “Trying to make contingency plans for every burgeoning number of Covid positive patients.”

To manage that volume, they’re reducing surgical operations at five operating rooms to free up beds and nurses. They’re also limiting outpatient surgeries, and elective surgeries that require admission.

Right now, they have 114 total covid patients. Their chief administrative officer, Jennifer Rose, tells us that could be the most they’ve ever had.

“It’s not our first time going through this, and we do have measures like vaccination and we’ve got safety protocols in place, but it’s just been a challenge to make sure we are able to strategically use our beds,” Rose said.

At this point, those Covid patients are impacting other people’s healthcare. Doctors say it’s possible this didn’t have to happen.

“You gotta think that if everyone had been vaccinated you have far fewer cases that require admission, ICU, organization,” said Dr. DeSimone. “And you’re seeing from our numbers almost a 99 out of 100 patients are Covid symptoms have been unvaccinated. Think of the resources they could be freed up if they didn’t have to come to the hospital.”

UK Health Care has a total of 42 operating rooms between Chandler Hospital and Good Samaritan. They also have eight outpatient ORs.

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