One of area’s leading infectious disease specialists tests positive for COVID-19

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Infectious disease specialist, Dr. Rebecca Shadowen, tested positive Tuesday for COVID-19 and has been hospitalized, according to a written statement from Med Center Health.

“COVID-19 does not discriminate in its ability to penetrate our homes and communities,” Shadowen said in the statement. “I tested positive for the virus yesterday and have been admitted to the hospital.”

Shadowen believes she contracted the virus through community-acquired exposure after an elderly family member received care at home from an infected caregiver.

“I do not believe I contracted the virus while working in the hospital,” said Shadowen, who works at The Medical Center. “Our staff, myself included, have meticulously followed all personal protective equipment guidelines. I cannot emphasize enough that COVID-19 is now widespread in our communities. As many of our workplaces and businesses reopen, it is critical we all remain diligent in following the guidelines to remain Healthy at Home and Healthy at Work.”

Med Center Health is the parent organization for The Medical Center at Bowling Green and several other medical facilities in the region. The organization employs almost 3,800 people and of those, 95 have tested positive for COVID-19, Jill Payne, an executive vice president and chief nursing officer for Med Center Health said in a written statement Tuesday.

Of the 95 positive cases, 38 employees have returned to work, Payne said.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear recently reported Kentucky may be reaching a plateau in the rate of new COVID-19 cases across the Commonwealth. However, here in the Barren River Area Development District and particularly in Warren County, the rate of new cases has not slowed, according to the release.

Beshear has recognized this sharper increase during his last several briefings, and the state continues to work with local officials to increase testing capabilities in the area. While more testing accounts for some increase in reporting, Med Center Health is admitting a rising number of COVID-19 patients at its Bowling Green campus which confirms that Warren and surrounding counties are experiencing an increase in the prevalence of the virus.

“The increase is concerning. Dr. Rebecca Shadowen – Infectious Diseases, Travel Medicine, and Healthcare Epidemiology at Med Center Health – has been steadfast in her plea for all of us to practice social distancing, good hand hygiene and appropriate masking to prevent the spread of the virus,” said Connie Smith, president and chief executive officer of Med Center Health. “Dr. Shadowen has been at the forefront of our community’s fight against COVID-19. She has provided invaluable leadership and expertise not only to Med Center Health but to other area hospitals, health care facilities and community partners, including the Bowling Green – Warren County Coronavirus Workgroup.”

“Dr. Shadowen felt it was important to share her story as a reminder that this virus is now present throughout our communities and highly contagious. We appreciate her bravery and wish her a full and quick recovery,” Smith said.