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Lexington hospitals prepare for potential surge of COVID-19 cases

Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 12:07 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - During his Tuesday briefing, Governor Andy Beshear talked about another surge in COVID patients and the potential need for increased hospital capacity.

Beshear announced Tuesday 1,312 new COVID-19 cases, the highest total ever for a Tuesday, and the fourth-highest for a single day.

With the state’s covid numbers on an upward trajectory, Beshear said they are working on plans to make sure there’s capacity in hospitals, looking at hotel options, and the use of state parks, as well as a field hospital if needed.

Dr. James Borders, chief medical officer at Baptist Health Lexington, told us their COVID numbers haven’t changed much in recent weeks, but they are prepared should there be a surge.

They’ve ramped back up to normal operations following some furloughs when the pandemic first started.

Borders said not only did they have capacity if needed, but he’s also seen smaller hospitals learn to manage patients who previously would have been sent elsewhere.

“What I’m hearing is that more and more hospitals that previously felt unprepared to handle these cases feel a little more comfortable in dealing with them,” Dr. Borders said. “So, I think some of that surge is being handled by more rural hospitals. Peripheral facilities that previously felt they had to send those patients on.”

Dr. Borders said one big thing they are emphasizing is continuing to encourage people to get their flu shots. They feel like if people work to prevent the spread of the flu, I will help keep their capacity at a level they can help out if there is a surge in COVID patients.

A spokesperson for UK Hospital told us their COVID numbers have been steady. They also said they are much better prepared now for a surge than they were in April or March.

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