LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Hospitals in Louisville are preparing to take in more patients as COVID-19 cases surge across the country.
“We’re in a much better position than we were earlier in the year,” UofL Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jason Smith said. “We, yesterday, had probably the most patients we’ve had in our hospital since about the end of July, when we saw the huge spike after the 4th of July holiday.”
Smith said there 57 COVID-19 patients in the hospital as of Tuesday. Smith said the number in the beginning of September was in the mid-20s.
Other hospitals are seeing the same increase. On Wednesday, Baptist Health Louisville hit 50 COVID-19 patients for the first time since the pandemic hit.
“It’s very alarming to me," Baptist’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Chuck Anderson said. "In the last week or so, we have seen an increase in numbers. The good part about it, they have not been the critical-ill patients yet.”
Leaders from all three major hospitals - UofL Health , Baptist Health and Norton Healthcare - told WAVE 3 News their doctors have used the months during the pandemic to stock up on personal protective equipment (PPE), find more effective ways to test for COVID-19 and find more effective treatments. They are using a combination of drugs to treat current patients, including Remdesivir, a polymerase inhibitor which halts the virus' ability to reproduce within the healthy cells. Doctors are also using dexamethasone, a corticosteroid that helps with inflammation.
Norton’s Vice President of Medical Affairs Dr. James Frazier told WAVE 3 News they are also involved in clinical trials for Regeneron’s REGN-COV2 antibody “cocktail.”
President Donald Trump received both Remdesivir and Regeneron’s antibody treatment while he was diagnosed with the coronavirus.
“We have, like I said, plenty of capacity here, both in the intensive care unit as well as the floor, and plenty of ventilators," Frazier said. "So I don’t anticipate that there’s going to be any need to stop basic services, but that’s something we monitor on a daily basis.”
He said right now he feels comfortable in his team’s ability to manage UofL Health’s capacity, because of the knowledge they now have about how COVID-19 works.
“We’ve had time to prepare the healthcare system better than we had back in March and April when we really had weeks to try and develop this," Smith said. "Now we’ve had some months, we’ve got some strategies we can deploy, and we’ve got ways to kind of ramp up our capacity for beds for COVID patients.”