Healthcare providers across Kentucky have been directed to cancel all elective procedures based upon the predicted surge of COVID-19 patients and the medical resources that will be required to treat them.
The directive went into effect at midnight Wednesday as was given by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department of Public Health.
It applies to all elective surgeries no matter the location or setting, which includes hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and physicians’ in-office settings. The directive gives physicians the discretion on whether a delay would cause harm or negatively affect the patient’s life expectancy.
The term “elective” covers a wide variety of procedures — including cataract, cosmetic and orthopedic surgery — that will be routinely canceled. Others will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
“Elective surgery is a broad term that covers almost anything you can do, except emergency trauma,” said Owensboro Health Chief Medical Officer Francis DuFrayne. “We’re looking at each case carefully.”
Before the order went into effect, Gov. Andy Beshear had already requested all hospitals to cease elective surgeries and procedures. DuFrayne says that recommendation was made to free up ventilators and hospital beds for a surge of COVID-19 cases that have been predicted by health officials across the globe.
More than 50 elective surgeries scheduled to take place at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital have already been cancelled.
OHRH and other healthcare centers across the US need to conserve their medical supplies and limit the number of people at the hospital in order to prepare for the coronavirus, DuFrayne said.
“We’re trying to limit the number of people who come into the hospital so that we can limit the spread,” he said.
Cancellations will be addressed by a patient’s physician, who will call to inform them of the changes.
Those experiencing symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath and concerned they may have the coronavirus should not come to the emergency department or doctor’s office. Instead, call the Owensboro Health Coronavirus Hotline at 877-888-6647.
The Owensboro Health coronavirus hotline is available 24/7 by calling 877-888-6647. Call the hotline before seeking in-person care. More information from OH can be found here.
For the latest information and data on COVID-19 in Kentucky visit kycovid19.ky.gov or dial the Kentucky state hotline at 800-722-5725.
For the latest health guidelines and resources from the CDC, visit their website here.