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Boyle officials: Health-care workers in Danville prepped for arrival of COVID-19

Joint news conference provides numerous updates on pandemic

“We’re here, we’re ready, we’re equipped” to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, if and when it reaches this area, said Dr. Eric Guerrant, director of the local hospital’s emergency department, during a Danville-Boyle County joint news conference Tuesday morning.

Guerrant asked the public to try and limit trips to the emergency room and 911 calls to “true emergencies,” in order to keep the healthcare workers on the front line safe and protected.

Trina Clarkson, EMH emergency room director and preparedness coordinator, said that by Tuesday afternoon, anyone arriving at the emergency room doors in a private vehicle who has respiratory symptoms should stay in their vehicle and call the number posted on the ER door. Clarkson said a registered nurse or paramedic will come outside and assess the health care needs of the patient at their vehicle, and direct them where to go.

Also, all emergency room respiratory patients will be confined to one area behind closed doors, she said. These precautions will also be in effect at Ephraim McDowell Health’s Fort Logan (Stanford)  and Haggin (Harrodsburg) hospitals.

Boyle County Emergency Medical Services Director Mike Rogers said his agency is fully staffed and has been working closely with other local and state agencies to prepare for the pandemic’s arrival. In order to limit possible exposure to EMS staff, only one ambulance will be dispatched to locations where the patient is suffering from respiratory problems, and one provider will initially access the patient.

The Danville Fire Department will limit medical runs for respiratory emergencies “to prevent exposure and further transmission” of COVID-19, Rogers said.

In addition, when people call 911 for help, “it’s important to answer all of the dispatcher’s questions appropriately. That will help them respond correctly,” he said.

Rogers also said it’s important to keep social distance to about 6 feet and use “straight line” practices, meaning going straight from work or the grocery store to home.

Before the news conference — which featured COVID-19 updates from other local selected officials who are working on plans from the health department, city and county governments and Centre College — many other local government spectators began filling the community room at the public library. After greeting each other with elbow bumps, they began congregating in small groups of friends and colleagues.

But right before the live-streaming event took place, Boyle County Emergency Management Director Mike Wilder told them that was exactly what health officials were warning against. He then asked everyone who was non-essential for the news conference to please leave the room, and to remember social distancing practices.

Other information relayed at the press conference included:

The Boyle County Clerk’s office has ceased providing in-house governmental services to the public until March 31, when they will re-assess the pandemic situation and decide whether to reopen or remain closed. Employees will still be working in the offices, doing vehicle registration renewals by mail and website. Marriage licenses can be issued by appointment only by calling (859) 238-1110.

Kentucky State Police have suspended all driver’s license testing, including written and road tests, for the next three weeks. Gov. Andy Beshear has also extended driver’s license expiration dates by 90 days so no one will have to come into the office.

County Court Clerk Cortney Shewmaker said all civil and criminal dockets will be rescheduled, possibly for later in April.

Danville City Manager David Miliron said city hall is now closed to the public, but city services — “such as (providing) clean healthy water” — will continue.

“All staff is focused on the emergency at hand,” Milliron stated. “So under the guidance of our council, all open records requests are suspended until further notice. We will be able to address them once the pandemic has subsided and we are fully operational,” he said.

Boyle County Judge-Executive Howard Hunt said a call center has been set up in partnership with the City of Danville, which people can call to ask questions or voice concerns about changes being put in place during the pandemic. The number is (859) 936-6865. However, “It is not 911. It’s a non-emergency response number,” he warned. “It’s for questions and concerns only.”

 

ONLINE

Watch the entire press conference online by visiting http://bit.ly/BoyleCOVIDConference.