LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky hospitals are dangerously close to capacity with yet another surge of coronavirus cases expected after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Hospitals in the UofL Health system are already making preparations for a possible influx of patients with COVID-19. UofL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jason Smith announced Tuesday that Jewish Hospital will reopen 8 Towers for coronavirus patients. The 8th floor unit hasn’t been used in 12 years.
“We’ve been refurbishing it and bringing it back up to standard and preparing it to accept patients in those areas,” he said.
Smith said another floor in Jewish Hospital was already opened last week.
At UofL Hospital, inpatient elective procedures were put on hold until Friday at the earliest.
Smith explained that UofL will also consider dual occupancy rooms, but for now there are no plans to close hospital operating rooms.
UK HealthCare in Lexington recently closed five of 32 ORs to make room for COVID patients.
“For us right now there is not a need to close the operating rooms. It is part of our plan that we would use some of our procedure recovery area and OR recovery areas for ICUs if needed,” he said.
Smith warned that as UofL and other health systems adapt in case of a surge, they’re doing so understaffed with more doctors and nurses testing positive for the virus.
“If the numbers continue to rise and our staff is still being affected by this as much as anyone else than we run the risk of not having enough staff,” Smith said.
Gov. Andy Beshear on Tuesday said that Kentucky’s healthcare system could be overrun.
“All across this state we are seeing beds fill up, we are seeing nurses and doctors stretched and if we do not stop the exponential growth of cases we will exceed our healthcare capacity,” he said. “We will run out of doctors and nurses that are not sick or not quarantined and we will experience more losses and death than we have to,” he said.
Beshear called on all Kentuckians to do the “steps it takes” to cut down on cases.
Norton Healthcare and Baptist Health have not released any new details on hospital capacity in Louisville. Both health systems do have preexisting “surge plans” in place.