University of Louisville Hospital

University of Louisville Hospital (file photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- As COVID-19 cases continue to climb, Louisville hospital systems are making plans in case more room is needed for patients. 

Dr. Jason Smith with U of L Health said the health care system is opening a floor at Jewish Hospital that's been closed for more than a decade. 

“Over the past 3-4 weeks, we’ve been refurbishing it and bringing it back up to standards and preparing it to accept patients in those areas," he said. 

Smith said if needed, rooms there could hold two patients at a single time if needed for "surge capacity."

This news comes as UK Healthcare announced it is temporarily closing five operating rooms at Chandler Hospital on Monday to increase capacity for patients. 

"For us right now, there is not a need to close to ORs," Smith said, referring back to U of L Health. "It is part of our plan that we could use some of our procedure recovery areas and our OR recovery areas as ICUs if needed.”

Charlotte Ipsan, chief administrative officer for Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital, said patients who need to come to the hospital for any reason should not be afraid to do so. 

“We’re extremely confident and comfortable that we’re here to care for the community, and we have capacity in whatever you need us for," she said. “We do not have any indication of closing any operating rooms.”

At Baptist Health Louisville, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Chuck Anderson said there were more than 100 patients with COVID-19 there earlier in the week, and plans are being made in case numbers continue to climb. 

"What we’re expecting and what we’re planning for is even more numbers after Thanksgiving depending on how people treat Thanksgiving," Anderson said. 

He is asking people to follow the advice from health professionals and to not gather in large groups.

“Depending on the surge and what happens over Thanksgiving, we have a surge plan," he said. "(Such as) how we would stop surgeries depending on need in the hospital."

“We are planning for a spike in COVID cases following Thanksgiving, leading up into Christmas," Smith added.

U of L Health has paused elective surgeries for in-patients at University Hospital until at least this Friday. As of now, Norton and Baptist Health Louisville have not paused elective surgeries. 

“Right now, I think all three hospital systems are handling things, because it’s manageable," Anderson said.

But he said if people don't follow the rules, "We’re going to have to prevent elective surgeries, we’re going to close ORs, and we won’t be able to provide care that people need to stay well.”

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