Dozens of local hospital staffers testing positive for coronavirus

Dozens of local hospital staffers testing positive for coronavirus

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Forty-five Norton Healthcare employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

Employees at other hospitals in the area have also been affected, WAVE 3 News has learned.

In a Zoom conference Monday morning Norton Healthcare President and CEO Russell F. Cox said Norton has had 127 patients test positive for COVID-19. Of those, 34 of them are currently in hospitals receiving care. Nineteen of those patients are at Audubon Hospital, 17 are at Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital, 4 at Norton and 4 at Norton Brownsboro.

That number also includes the 45 Norton employees.

“These are unprecedented times for us in healthcare, in many ways uncharted waters,” Norton CEO Russell Cox said during a teleconference Monday.

Of the 45 employees who tested positive, one is hospitalized.

Cox said 250 employees have been tested.

“We’ve tried to do our best to keep our employees healthy and be the ones treating patients, not being patients, so we’ve taken significant measures at this time to make sure that happens," he said.

Since the coronavirus became a concern, employees can use a self-screening app to see if they have symptoms before they come to work. A total of 282 employees have been furloughed because symptoms were shown. Cox said more than 50 of those employees have returned to work.

He said Norton is evaluating data and is in contact with healthcare providers in other cities to prepare for the future.

“It’s an incumbent responsibility for us to use it to the best we can to try to stay ahead of the curve,” Cox said.

Norton has 1,174 beds including 163 ICU beds and 222 ventilators. Cox said some anesthesia machines can be converted for a total of 356.

Norton also runs the COVID-19 hotline. Cox said that number has received 36,000 calls in the past two weeks and averages 2,000 calls a day.

Norton employs approximately 16,000 people.

Baptist Hospital told WAVE 3 News that out of 25 employees who tested positive across its healthcare system, 14 of them are in the Kentuckiana area. The hospital added there are currently 267 employees quarantined, and that one of them is hospitalized. Baptist told WAVE 3 News it employs 19,500 people.

UofL Health also had six staff members test positive for the virus, but none of them has been hospitalized. UofL could not say how many of its employees are quarantined, but said 87 of them have been evaluated for COVID-19. The hospital said it employs about 10,000 people.

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