LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- While COVID-19 infections continue to spread throughout the community, hospitals are so far not seeing the same trend in intensive care units.
On Monday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced new recommendations for communities facing an uptick in the spread of COVID-19, including Louisville. The increased transmission rates over the past several weeks have led to an increase in hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients for the area's three largest health care providers: Baptist, Norton and U of L.
"Even though we have an increased number of in-patients, we're not seeing an increase number of ICU patients," said Dr. Jason Smith, Chief Medical Officer for U of L Health. "Those numbers have stayed relatively stable through this entire process."
As of Monday, across it's entire system, U of L Health has 939 patients receiving treatment. Of those, 75 have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 14 are in the ICU.
Norton Healthcare is seeing a similar trend. More than 120 patients are currently in ICU rooms, and 25 of those have tested positive for COVID-19.
While Baptist Health did not provide exact numbers, COO Patrick Falvey said hospitalizations have increased while the "percent of patients needing critical care beds and/or ventilators is down compared to earlier in the pandemic."
Many doctors point to the increased transmission amongst young people as to why infection rates continue to climb but those needing critical remains stagnant. However, there is at least some worry about what cold weather and flu season will bring to hospitals related to capacity.
"I think we always worry about our capacity with flu season," said Dr. Mark F. Newman, University of Kentucky's executive vice president for health affairs. "We're hopeful with the results in the southern hemisphere of the flu that it's not going to be a bad flu year."
A lull in COVID-19 cases has allowed area hospitals to prepare in case there is a surge and a resulting capacity issue. For instance, Norton Healthcare has 145 ICU beds with the ability to add 100 more. U of L Health, Baptist Health and UK Healthcare all have the ability to add additional ICU beds as well.
"We're in a better spot," Smith said. "Can we be overwhelmed? Yes, and I think you just have to look at other cities in the United States that are currently being overwhelmed. We are in a much better position than we were back in March and April, because we have PPE. We have response plans."
According to Smith, all three major hospital systems have regular meetings with the chief medical officers to prepare for surge and discuss planning.
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