UK Hospital temporarily closing five operating rooms

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 10:35 AM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - UK HealthCare will close five operating rooms at UK Chandler Hospital starting Monday, Nov. 30.

UK officials said the closures were intended to decrease hospital admissions and increase capacity for COVID-19 patients. Officials also said it would allow more personnel and resources to be freed up to help other areas of the hospital that need additional staff. They called the temporary closure “proactive”.

Dr. Mark Newman, UK’s Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, said this closure is different than the one from April. He said elective procedures will continue and employees will not be furloughed.

“Finally, and most importantly, we have done this once before,” Newman said. “We have clear indications for when to scale back versus re-open.”

Kentucky, and the U.S. as a whole, is in the middle of a surge in COVID-19 cases. Yesterday, the state reported its highest ever daily number of cases for a Monday.

UK HealthCare officials said patient numbers continue to grow. They said in the past week, UK HealthCare has gotten above 70 coronavirus patients. Officials said predictive models show an increase in COVID-19 cases three weeks from now due to the expected congregation of people at Thanksgiving. If a surge of more than 90 COVID-19 patients occurs, officials said, additional closures will be considered.

“Closing ORs is no easy decision. It impacts our staff, physicians and patients in many expected and sometimes unexpected ways,” Newman said. “However, this is the right decision for the uncertainty that lies ahead.”

Just last week, several Lexington hospitals announced new visitor restrictions in light of the recent surge in cases.

The current reduction in ORs is estimated to last through December. Officials said it will be evaluated weekly.

UK Chandler Hospital still has 27 functioning operating rooms. The closures do not affect operating rooms at UK Good Samaritan Hospital or at the Center for Advanced Surgery.

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