Some hospitals and long-term care facilities in Kentucky are restricting visitors to help stem the spread of coronavirus among the most vulnerable populations.
Following a recommendation from the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Governor Andy Beshear issued an executive order placing mandatory restrictions on long-term care centers.
"We do know the elderly or people with underlying health risks are more likely to have poor outcomes if they’re infected with the virus and the death rate is higher in those individuals," said Sharon Ray, a registered nurse at the Barren River District Health Department in Bowling Green.
While the executive order applies only to state-operated long-term care facilities, some privately run centers are restricting visitors out of an abundance of caution. The Medical Center, which owns Cal Turner Rehab and Specialty Care in Scottsville, is barring visitors, except for patients near the end of life.
T.J. Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow is also restricting visitors in its skilled nursing unit.
Starting this week, visitors and patients at TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital are being directed to use specific entrances to allow visitors to be screened.
"We have positioned supplies at points of entry, so that any potential symptomatic patient who arrives can be properly masked and immediately isolated to protect our colleagues and other patients," said Marketing and Communications Specialist Andria McGregor.
For most people, COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, including older adults and those with chronic health conditions, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
Gov. Beshear also signed an executive order to allows pharmacists to fill prescriptions for 30 days, including an emergency refill if they aren't able to make contact with a patient's physician. It would also make it easier for people to stay home for an extended period of time.