ER doctor: Resurgence of COVID-19 cases causing ‘deep state of crisis’

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The recent surge in COVID-19 cases is putting a significant strain on area hospitals as they are at or near capacity.

The Medical Center at Bowling Green was at full capacity as of 11:42 a.m. Friday. T.J. Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow is nearing capacity and TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital still has room.

As of 11:40 a.m., The Medical Center was treating 47 COVID-19 patients. Of those 47 patients, 11 are on ventilators. Two of the people on ventilators have been vaccinated. Of the total 47 patients, only 12 have been vaccinated.

The emergency room is seeing patients but remains consistently full, according to Dr. William Moss, the medical director of the emergency room at The Medical Center at Bowling Green.

Some elective surgeries at The Medical Center have been postponed and that practice will likely continue, Moss said.

“Right now, we’re already having to send a lot of our providers nurse practitioners into waiting rooms to do medicine care out there because there’s just no beds. We use hall beds please wheelchairs in halls. We’re doing everything we can to get patients back as soon as possible. It is very worrisome. This is not a situation we were trained for to do like this,” said Moss.

The recent spike is worrisome according to Moss and he doesn’t know what will happen if the trend continues saying this is a “deep state of crisis.”

According to Moss, the maximum number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital during the peek of the pandemic was around 75. That number took several months to reach.

He says just three weeks ago the hospital only had one COVID-19 patient, meaning the spike has gone up an average of more than two people per day in that time period.

On top of capacity issues, the hospital is short staffed, according to Moss.

“There’s no end in sight at this point. Our ER and other ERs across the area are constantly full,” said Moss.

The hospitals that would receive The Medical Center’s patients requiring transfers to other, larger medical facilities such as Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital in Lexington, and the University of Louisville Hospital are also at or near capacity and have been declining transfers, Moss said.

Wait times at The Medical Center emergency room are often long and Moss asks that people seeking care to have patience.

As of Friday, T.J. Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow had 28 COVID positive patients in the hospital and only two of those patients had been vaccinated.

Four of the 28 are in the ICU, and of of those being treated in the ICU, none were vaccinated.

Currently, T.J. Samson encourages anyone experiencing any kind of medical emergency in the Glasgow area to seek treatment at its facility, according to Stacey Biggs, the vice president of marketing at the hospital.

Neil Thornbury, the C.E.O. if TJ Regional Health encourages anyone experiencing a medical emergency to seek treatment as usual.

“Although five weeks ago we did not have one patient with COVID-19 today we have re-opened our covert unit and implemented our Covid surge plan that we developed over a year ago,” said Thornbury.

TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital had 12 COVID patients on Friday and had available bed space for more patients.