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UK Healthcare gives update on plans for possible surge in COVID-19 cases

Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 11:22 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - As the state of Kentucky breaks records for COVID-19 infections, hospitals in Lexington are beginning to see the effects.

“We had been running fairly consistently, I say 25 to 30 in patients with COVID. And now we are more in the 45 to 50 range,” Vice President of operations Colleen Swartz said.

But they say they still have plenty of capacity if there is a surge in patients, as the governor has mentioned.

“We’ve not really surged, if you will, to any of our bed capacity. We’re just running on routine capacity,” Dr. Mark Newman said.

Officials with UK Healthcare gave us an update today about their plans for the winter. They say if need be, they can increase their capacity to hundreds of COVID patients.

“Our adult occupancy on a normal day-to-day basis is really close to 90 to 100% on any given day. But as you recall, we have a plan for surge capacity in Pavilion A, where we can surge up to 300 patients with our existing footprint.”

Hospital officials say one of the reasons the death rate hasn’t risen along with the number of infections is they’re getting better at treating people who end up at the hospital with COVID-19.

“A number of things we’ve learned early on, I think you are seeing the mortality rate and our early treatment improve.”

They also say many of the new cases they’re seeing are younger adults, who generally don’t get as severe symptoms.

Still, as we go into the colder weather, with everyone inside, it’s on all of us to help ensure hospitals have capacity to help those who need it.

“If every person takes a more active responsibility in their own mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing and that expectation of others we can continue to flatten the curve down like we did before. And that was really very successful I think in the past.”

The hospital says they will have the capacity to test someone for COVID-19 and the flu with the same swab, which will help when determine treatments.

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