Local healthcare officials prepare for coronavirus in area

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Covid-19, the strain of coronavirus making the rounds through the United States and Kentucky has many wondering how the local healthcare system will handle this latest health crisis.

Sharon Ray, a nurse at the Barren River District Health Department, said the process of dealing with this coronavirus isn’t completely new. Certain infections, including Covid-19 are reported to local health departments and to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention electronically, so information is shared quickly. And even with the need for new testing supplies, Kentucky has met that need, as well.

Ray said for the time being, patients are generally only tested when they meet certain criteria, such as travel to an area known to already be experiencing epidemic level of Covid-19 but she also says that will likely change as the number of those infected increases.

Dr. Rebecca Shadowen, an infectious disease specialist with The Medical Center of Bowling Green, said policies to manage illnesses like the coronavirus have been in place for a while and that it’s a matter of adjusting those policies and procedures as they learn more about new illnesses.

Caught in the middle are healthcare workers. Dr. Shadowen said healthcare workers share two concerns: protecting their own health while still providing care for all their patients. It’s all part of planning to keep communities safe and reduce the impact of an emerging illness.

So far eight people in Kentucky have tested positive for the virus. None of the eight are in the WNKY viewing area.