Published on January 06, 2021

Nearly half of OH staff have been vaccinated for virus

By Christie Netherton, Messenger-Inquirer

Owensboro Health is still in the process of vaccinating health care workers and hopes to be through tier one employees by early next week, according to Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francis DuFrayne.

Dr. Michael Kelley, vice president of medical affairs for Owensboro Health, previously said that tier one employees includes staff and health care employees with direct patient contact, such as critical care doctors and nurses as well as front desk employees.

DuFrayne said OH has vaccinated between 1,600 to 1,700 employees. According to Brian Hamby, marketing coordinator, that number of employees equates to 40 to 45% of the staff who have been given the vaccine.

To date, DuFrayne said OH has received 6,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

He said the system expects to begin administering booster shots beginning Jan. 21.

“So far, it’s going really well,” DuFrayne said. “We’ve made very good progress but we are not at the end yet. I think by the end of this week we’ll be through all of our tier one, but at the same time, because we’ve gotten the bulk of them, we have opened it up to other tiers within our organization.”

At this point, DuFrayne said the state has asked for vaccinations not to be opened up to the public.

However, he said OH has been in the process of opening vaccinations up to other tiers, and has also been working with the Green River District Health Department to help vaccinate non-hospital-based, essential health care workers in the community.

“As we get closer to vaccinating the health care workers in our region and if we have extra doses, then we will reach back out to the state and start looking at other parts of our community, such as those 65 or older, particularly those with pre-existing medical conditions,” DuFrayne said.

“When the state opens it up to the community, we will be a ready participant in that.”

When asked if any healthcare employees have declined the vaccinations, Hamby said employees are scheduling their own shots rather than opting in or declining vaccination.

“It’s hard to say how many have declined because people really aren’t opting in or declining; they’re just coming in for a shot,” he said. “We only know how many people have come roughly and we know more people are coming.”

DuFrayne said OH encourages everyone who is eligible within the health system to receive the vaccine.

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.