Two months after it was taken down, the tent outside Owensboro Health Regional Hospital has been put back up as a proactive measure after an uptick in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant. OH officials are also highlighting the safety measures in place at all their facilities.
Francis DuFrayne, Owensboro Health’s chief medical officer, said they’ve had a slight increase in COVID-19 admissions, and there’s been an increase in the positivity rate among tests throughout the region.
For about 4-6 weeks, the hospital was hovering around two or three COVID-positive patients per day. On Thursday that number was up to 14, but still well below the 50 or so they were seeing daily during the height of the pandemic.
“We’ve had an uptick in our number of admissions at the hospital. Nothing great, but it’s still an uptick,” he said. “We as an organization have decided to be a little more proactive. We put the tent back up, and we use the tent to give monoclonal antibody infusions to the COVID-positive patients. It’s just in anticipation.”
The tent came down on May 17, with a Facebook post from OH officials calling it a “milestone in the fight against COVID-19.”
“For more than a year, a tent was needed outside the Owensboro Health Emergency Department to meet challenges created by the pandemic,” the post reads. “First, it was used for social distancing to separate patients with respiratory issues from others as a COVID precaution. Most recently, it’s been used to administer monoclonal antibody infusions to COVID-positive patients. The removal of the tent is a hopeful sight to us all.”
Thursday afternoon, a Facebook post from Owensboro Health said they are “preparing to accommodate more COVID-19 patients as numbers rise across the region.”
The post also linked to temporary safety measures that are returning as COVID-19 cases rise.
According to their site, the following safety measures are now in place at all Owensboro Health facilities:
- We’re enforcing visitor restrictions to keep our team members and patients safe. For more information on the current policy (which is subject to change as needed), go to OwensboroHealth.org/Visit.
- All procedural patients will be tested for COVID-19, including fully vaccinated patients.
- Masking is required at all times within any Owensboro Health facility.
DuFrayne said Thursday they are assuming the increase in cases is a result of the Delta variant based on national statistics, but they are waiting for more results to be sure.
“We’ve sent specimens off to the state to confirm it, but that’s our assumption because all over the country 80-plus percent are Delta,” he said.
He also encourages everyone in the community to use caution, regardless of whether they’ve received a vaccination.
“Whether you’re vaccinated or unvaccinated, you still have to be cautious,” he said. “Wash your hands, distance as much as possible. For those who are unvaccinated, the recommendation is that you always wear a mask in public. For those who are vaccinated, if you’re going inside to shop or to crowded places, you should put a mask on.”
According to a Tuesday release from the Green River District Health Department, 43.9 percent of Daviess Countians have been vaccinated. The incidence rate — or 7-day average of new cases per 100,000 people — at that time was 13.396%.
“Unfortunately we are seeing a substantial rise in our incidence of new COVID-19 cases” Clay Horton, GRDHD Public Health Director, said in the release. “The best way to protect yourself and those you love is to get vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are not yet fully vaccinated, at higher risk, or work in a high-traffic public job like retail or dining, continue to wear a mask when in indoor public spaces. If you are not vaccinated yet, get vaccinated immediately.”