Published on October 29, 2020

OHRH sees daily high number of COVID-19 cases this month

By Renee Beasley Jones, Messenger-Inquirer

Dr. Michael KelleyOwensboro Health Regional Hospital saw its highest daily total of COVID-19 patients on Oct. 16, when 29 people were being treated for the virus.

Wednesday morning’s number was 28, said Dr. Mike Kelley, OH vice president of medical affairs. However, that total didn’t count two transfers expected to come in.

“We might be at 30 when the numbers all shake out today,” Kelley said.

On Wednesday morning, eight patients were in ICU. Three of them required ventilators.

The hospital’s ICU contains 32 beds. There are other patients in critical care other than COVID-19 patients.

The floor dedicated to coronavirus patients can house up to 48, Kelley said. Currently, it has 19 patients.

When it comes to COVID-19 beds, OHRH continues to have plenty of capacity, Kelley said.

The region has seen a surge in cases since late September. More cases mean more hospitalizations.

During the first week of this month, COVID-19 cases at the hospital hit 20 and have stayed at or above that number since, Kelley said.

By comparison, July, August and September hovered in the 10s and low teens.

“June was when we started to see single digits for a while,” Kelley said.

On April 22, the hospital had 13 known positive cases and 13 patients under investigation. Until this month, 26 was the all-time high.

Early on in the pandemic, OHRH had no rapid tests for COVID-19, so patients suspected to be infected were listed as under investigation until their test results proved they were positive.

Today, the hospital uses rapid testing to determine if patients are positive, Kelley said, so OHRH rarely has a PUI these days.

Although the number of patients has increased this month, Kelley said OHRH isn’t in any type of crisis mode.

Because regional cases are trending upward, Kelley expects OHRH officials to start meeting more frequently.

“We feel prepared for this, having gone through it to some degree before,” Kelley said.

However, if cases continue to escalate and hospitalizations climb, it could reach a point where OHRH’s capacity is needed for COVID-19 instead of other medical procedures. Other parts of the hospital could have to scale back to make room for coronavirus patients, he said.

In fact, some hospitals in Tennessee are doing that now because the number of virus cases has grown so much, Kelley said.

Regional residents need to adhere to state and federal COVID-19 recommendations, he said, such as wearing masks, washing hands, practicing physical distancing and shying away from large social gatherings.

“We are dependent on their behaviors out there,” Kelley said. “ ...I want people to make good decisions for society as a whole, instead of individually.”

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

About Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health is a nonprofit health system with a mission to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities it serves in Kentucky and Indiana. The system includes Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, nationally recognized for design, architecture and engineering; Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital, the Owensboro Health Medical Group comprised of over 200 providers at more than 20 locations; three outpatient Healthplex facilities, a certified medical fitness facility, the Healthpark; a surgical weight loss center and program, and the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center.

On average each year, we have 16,000 inpatient admissions, deliver 2,000 babies and provide the region’s only Level III NICU. Owensboro Health physicians perform nearly 24,000 surgical procedures, including nearly 200 open-heart surgeries. Our physicians and staff have 70,000 Emergency Department visits, more than a million outpatient visits annually. Visit our home page for more information.