Hospital is at full capacity due to contagious illnesses; make sure you’re not next 

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Empty parking spaces near Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center are pretty scarce these days. The reason is because the hospital is nearly at capacity with patients suffering from contagious illnesses, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Jeremy Cocanougher, hospital spokesperson, said all 222 licensed beds were nearly full Monday and Tuesday. As doctors began discharging patients who were healthy enough to go home, more beds became available for acutely ill patients.

Cocanougher said the majority of patients being admitted to the hospital right now are suffering from the flu and other respiratory illnesses.

Email newsletter signup

He said this isn’t the first time the hospital has been running at full capacity, but it’s been a while. Last year, there wasn’t a widespread breakout of any illness like there is this year, he said.

He suggested that anyone with the flu or flu-like symptoms should wear an anti-viral face mask. And most importantly, practice proper hand hygiene. Even though it sounds so simple, Cocanougher said good hand hygiene is very important, especially when so many people are sick.

According to the Center for Disease Controls and Prevention website the proper way to wash hands is:

• wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap; .

• lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap, making sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails; 

• scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds — easy to time this by humming “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end, twice;  

• rinse your hands well under clean, running water; and

• dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

The CDC website also states, “The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.”

Other practices to follow 

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Stay home when you are sice.

• Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

• Clean your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs then touches their eyes, nose or mouth.

• Practice other good health habits such as clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school; get plenty of sleep; be physically active; manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.