Baptist Health Richmond holding firm amidst nationwide overcrowding – Richmond Register

Baptist Health Richmond Holding Firm Amidst Nationwide Overcrowding Richmond Register
Baptist Health Richmond Holding Firm Amidst Nationwide Overcrowding Richmond Register

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During Governor Andy Beshear’s press conference on Tuesday, he spoke of the state of hospitals with the current surge of COVID-19 cases in Kentucky.

Hospitals across the state are fighting the influx of cases, and some are worried they may face the same overcrowding which occurred in 2020.

However, Dr. Erica Gregonis, chief medical officer for Richmond Baptist Health, said Baptist Health Richmond is holding firm.

“Just like everyone else in the country, and across the state of Kentucky, we are seeing an influx of patients,” Gregonis said. Not all of these patients, Gregonis explained, are COVID-19 cases.

“We still need to make sure we’re seeing our regular patients,” Gregonis said. She explained throughout the height of the pandemic and after, many patients have deferred their care. Now they are starting to come into the hospital to get their procedures done, adding to the influx of patients.

As for these deferred procedures, Gregonis said they are reviewing the cases to see which ones might be safely postponed due to the worry of overcrowding. For right now, she said they only have to limit procedures which would require the patient to stay longer than one day.

The numbers of patients fluctuate by the day. When The Register spoke with Gregonis on Wednesday, she said Baptist Health Richmond had 18 COVID-19 patients in the hospital. Three of whom were unvaccinated, three were partially vaccinated, and two were fully vaccinated.

“Most people who are having trouble with this are unvaccinated,” Gregonis said. “The best gift that anyone could give a healthcare worker is to get vaccinated.”

Gregonis said currently, the hospital can staff all of the beds they have. However, she knows across the country, there is presently a staffing issue for hospitals.

“Yes, it is a challenge, but we make sure we have the staff,” Gregonis said.

If things do become more severe with overcrowding, Gregonis said they do have a plan.

“We’re very fortunate here in the fact that being close to the Bluegrass Army Depot, we’ve always been able to plan training drills with them,” Gregonis said. “We were able to use that same process when Covid occurred. So when we started having trouble last year, we came up with what we call Covid Surge Plan. The idea of, if we get this many patients, what is the next step, how do we accommodate. We have plenty of plans and protocols in place of how to accommodate and take care of patients if we get more patients than we normally would expect.”

“Obviously, at Baptist Health, our foal is always making sure we take care of our patients,” Gregonis said. She said she was very grateful for the “front line” workers helping them go above and beyond.

“I really want to commend them,” Gregonis said. “It’s not the easiest time to work in healthcare, but they are showing up every single day. I can’t say thank you enough to our frontline workers for really helping us take care of our community.”

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