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Notices:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Visitation Restrictions

Visitation restrictions are in effect at all Med Center Health hospitals and Cal Turner Rehab & Specialty Care.

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The information below is courtesy of the Bowling Green-Warren County Coronavirus Workgroup. The Workgroup is made up of organizations and individuals dedicated to keeping residents informed about the virus. Members include:

  • Barren River District Health Department
  • Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Bowling Green Independent School District
  • Graves Gilbert Clinic
  • Med Center Health
  • Rebecca Shadowen, MD
  • Rivendell Behavioral Health Hospital
  • Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College
  • Southern Kentucky Rehabilitation Hospital
  • The City of Bowling Green
  • TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital
  • Warren County Emergency Management
  • Warren County Government
  • Warren County Public Schools
  • Western Kentucky University

Frequently Asked Questions – (May 12, 2020)

How much of our increase in positive COVID-19 cases is within employees of a few local manufacturing/meat processing facilities? If these are clusters associated with particular industries, is anyone enforcing healthy, humane work environments?

Regional manufacturing clusters have contributed to some of the recent increased numbers of positive cases. The health department is involved in conducting case investigations and contact tracing within these facilities.  The health department is also involved in educating and informing the manufacturing facilities of the KY Department for Public Health and CDC guidelines.  The KY Division of Labor is involved in oversight of enforcing healthy work environments and have been actively engaged in closures and reopening plan qualifications for individual businesses.

Keep in mind numbers of cases are directly dependent on the behavior of our community members as businesses and churches reopen. Our expectation is that EVERYONE will adopt general mask or face coverings while in public, social distance and be very careful for hand hygiene. Disinfecting common use surfaces is also a significant step in preventing transmission of this virus. Increases and decreases are under the direct control of every person and their acceptance or compliance with preventing spread.

Is the increase in positive COVID-19 cases associated with any local long-term care facilities?  

Following the trends across the state, clusters at long-term care facilities have increased reporting at the local and regional levels.

Are employers required to report outbreaks among their employees?

Employers should report outbreaks to public health.

Do you know Warren County’s per capita COVID-19 rate and how we stack up against other urban KY areas?

Part of the purpose of increased testing in the general population is to find out more accurate numbers of those infected. We know by the rate of hospitalizations that we have increasing cases. On a per 100,000 based population, we have approximately twice the number of cases that Fayette county has and 2/3 the number of cases Louisville has. However, we cannot be very accurate until we have the final numbers of those individuals who are positive but asymptomatic from all the general testing that is currently in progress.

Where are the COVID-19 positive “hot spots”?  Why aren’t local leaders addressing the public daily?

Additional testing is being offered across our community to help identify patients with the virus and allow public health to notify those that may be affected.  Results of testing also identify where resources and education may be needed to help prevent virus spread.  Local leaders are actively answering the questions with the media and through social media and email every single day.

How many COVID-19 patients are hospitalized locally?

Numbers vary day to day, but there are currently between 35 and 40 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Warren County with an additional 4 to 6 persons under investigation (PUIs). Patients in Warren County hospitals may be from other counties in the area.

Is someone enforcing the “one person per family” rule in stores?

The health department is involved in educating and informing the general public of the KY Department for Public Health and CDC guidelines related to shopping at stores.  Retail establishments are responsible for monitoring the volume of customers in their respective businesses as they begin re-opening.

As businesses look to reopen while abiding by the new state guidance, how can they procure the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) required for a safe reopening?

The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce has created as part of their COVID response resources for businesses a Personal Protection Equipment page on their web site.  Businesses can find local options to procure the needed PPE and providers of PPE can list what equipment they have available for purchase.  This resource is free of charge to all businesses.  You can find the information on https://www.bgchambercovid.com/ppe-equipment.

Will there be assistance with sign-ups and translation services for the new testing sites that were just announced?  

Yes. The international center has worked to have as many onsite interpreters as possible, anticipating certain languages. However, with all the various nationalities within our international community, we may have languages where the communication may require a phone in translation.

How long is it safe for employees to wear masks?  Doesn’t carbon dioxide build up in the mask increasing the risk of passing out, especially in hot weather or hot working environments?

Studies clearly show that there is no risk of significant carbon dioxide build up inside a surgical or cloth face mask. These masks are not (and do not need to be) tight fitting. They are intended to catch our own secretions or aerosols from our nose or mouth. This decreases the chance of spreading the virus to others. An N-95 mask, used by healthcare workers, can have some non-harmful retention of carbon dioxide if heavy labor is done during extended wear. Removal of the N95 mask is done at 2-4 hours of continuous wear in most cases due to comfort, not due to any ill effects.  The use of a surgical, ear loop or cloth mask is not considered a concern.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – (MAY 5, 2020)

How many of the confirmed COVID-19 positive cases in Warren County have been hospitalized?

Since the first case was identified on March 18, 2020, 102 patients have been hospitalized in Warren County hospitals. It is important to remember that patients do not have to be “from” Warren County to be admitted to The Medical Center at Bowling Green or Tristar Greenview Regional Hospital.

What is our total hospital inpatient capacity in Warren County during this pandemic? 

Our community has a capacity of over 650 inpatient beds.  Currently, at least 50% of these beds are available should our community experience a sharp increase in COVID-19 positive patients that need hospital care.

What does the number of positive COVID-19 cases curve look like for Warren County?  Is it going up or down?

The number of positive cases are rising in the community in Warren and surrounding counties. This is a direct indicator of both increased testing numbers and our population behavior over the past 2 weeks. Specifically, it tells us that our community is becoming less strict about social distancing, general face covering in public, hand hygiene and surface disinfection. It means that EVERYONE needs to be diligent about these practices. It is advisable to wear a face covering anytime we are out in public.

What is our current hospitalization rate for Warren County?

The current hospitalization rate varies every day. We have had increases in the number of cases admitted. It is important to understand that hospitalization only indicates severe disease, or symptoms that cannot be managed at home. It is a small fraction of the number of actual cases present at any point in time. That number is estimated to be less than 14% of total cases in any community. 

Is our local health department doing contact tracing, or is that the state’s responsibility? 

The Barren River District Health Department is responsible for case investigations and contract tracing related to COVID. Once we receive a lab report and a case is deemed to be positive, Barren River District Health Department Communicable Disease staff conduct a case investigation. As it relates to a positive case, we must receive the lab report before confirming a positive case.  A case investigation includes a phone interview which covers in excess of 10 pages of information that we gain from the individual. We gather information about anyone who has been in contact with the positive case over the past two weeks.  This is referred to as contact tracing.  Think of it as wheel with a hub being the case and the spokes being the contacts.  Anyone who is a direct contact with the positive case (meaning they have had extended contact with the person) will be notified directly by a member of the Communicable Disease staff from the health department. 

Are local authorities involved in enforcing social distancing and use of masks in businesses?

The Barren River District Health Department is charged with the task of educating and informing the public about social distancing and the use of masks.

Do we expect increases in positive COVID-19 tests with the reopening of businesses and churches?

Our numbers of cases are directly dependent on the behavior of our community members as businesses and churches reopen. There is a delay of approximately 2-3 weeks in the effect of our social distancing activities due to the delay of onset of symptoms, what we call the incubation period for the infection. Our expectation is that EVERYONE will adopt general mask or face coverings while in public, social distance and be very careful for hand hygiene. Disinfecting common use surfaces is also a significant step in preventing transmission of this virus. Increases and decreases are under the direct control of every person and their acceptance or compliance with preventing spread. As we open our society, these measures and responsibilities are even more important. Until we have effective treatment AND a vaccine to administer, we must continue to be “Healthy at Home and Healthy at Work.” Social distancing, face masks/coverings, hand hygiene and surface cleaning are all necessary…stay the course.