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St. Elizabeth Ft. Thomas at Capacity; Hospital System Starts COVID Surge Plan

St. Elizabeth Healthcare's Ft. Thomas location is at capacity and the system is starting to implement its surge plan, "which will involve (intensive care units) at other hospitals in our system," said Guy Karrick, spokesperson for St. E.

The surge plan begins in Florence, he said. 

St. Elizabeth also has locations in Covington, Edgewood, Williamstown, and Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

Northern Kentucky, like the rest of the state, has seen a rapid increase in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

"We are almost double the volume of patients with covid from our peak in the spring," Karrick told RCN. "At the current rate, we will double before Thanksgiving."

The River City News is awaiting an interview with a doctor from St. Elizabeth for further and more specific details about numbers and plans.

Kenton County Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann posted on Facebook on Wednesday that hospital bed use is up 50%.

"The increase in hospitalizations due to COVID is not just in other states and counties. It’s here. In past few days, hospital bed use is UP 50%," Knochelmann posted. "Why does this matter? Some think, ;'Well, if I have to go to the hospital, I’ll get through it.' That is dangerous thinking at this point. The strain on facilities is real and the strain on health care staff is even greater. Let’s stay masked when not actively eating or drinking if around others. We can all do our part."

Karrick urged people to wear masks, observe social distancing, keep hands clean, and to "take this new surge seriously."

"We need to look after each other so we can make it through to the other side of this pandemic," Karrick said.

Governor Andy Beshear is expected to announce new COVID-related restrictions on Wednesday as the state continues to see a surge in cases. The state's positivity rate is at 9.1%.

Northern Kentucky counties are all considered to be "red zone", meaning an average daily case count of 25 or more per 100,000 population.

The Northern Kentucky Health Department on Tuesday announced that it was intensifying its contact-tracing methods in order to try to get more people notified of possible exposure and to quarantine.

This story will be updated.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

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