MOREHEAD, Ky. — The volume of patients is going up in hospitals rapidly across the state, including in Rowan County.

Back in the summer, St. Claire Regional Hospital experienced the delta surge that spilled into a field hospital.

Since then, leaders have prepared to brace another spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations

What You Need To Know

  • Hospitalizations are slowly increasing in Kentucky

  • A Morehead hospital is mitigating the issue by staying ahead

  • CEO and President said it's important to treat COVID-19 as a chronic condition and not a crisis condition

  • He said many health care workers are exhausted

President and CEO of St. Claire Regional Hospital Donald Lloyd said the rapid rise in cases of omicron is creating a situation for another surge.

“I am not an public health researcher, but I will tell you that it sure does feel that the pace of new cases that we're experiencing here in eastern Kentucky is not as rapid as we had previously experienced,” Lloyd said.

They battled the delta variant in late August, where hospitalizations increased, occupying beds for patients not as severely ill.

“What we have learned is, if there is one big primary lesson in terms for clinical delivery is for us to get ahead of the surge and to be very proactive,” Lloyd said.

To manage the overflow in the fall, they propped an overflow tent outside to administer monoclonal antibody therapy.

“We've actually moved to a building off-campus and we are seeing a significant number of patients requesting that therapy and providers proactively,” Lloyd said. "If we can get that therapy, assuming it's available and there is a shortage of the those therapies. But to the extent that we can have access to those therapies, and get them in people's arms, even though they're diagnosed, or to get them in their bodies, then it does prevent hospitalization.”

Lloyd said lately, around 50% of their current load in the Intensive Care Unit is filled with COVID-19 positive patients and that number changes daily.

“I think the other thing that we've learned is that we have to treat COVID-19 as a chronic condition and not a crisis condition. We have to change our mindset,” Lloyd said. “Because we are now three calendar years into this pandemic.”

The constant fluctuation of the pandemic is also taxing on the people who take care of patients.

“The clinicians and the nurses and the technicians and therapists who have been working at the patient side, whether it's in a post-acute setting or acute setting, they're exhausted,” Lloyd said. “And we have to also provide relief and therapy to them as providers, as well as our patients that are sick.”

Lloyd’s final point was urging people to get vaccinated.

The hospital said they moved the tent field hospital to an annex building late fall to continue offering monoclonal antibody therapy and the Kentucky National Guard completed their assignment Nov. 12, finishing a nearly three-month deployment.