Public health director comments on surge of COVID cases, hospital situation

Boyle County Health Department Public Health Director Brent Blevins commented on the situation at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center and how Boyle County and other counties across Kentucky are experiencing a different type of surge in COVID-19 cases in the past few weeks, compared to previous surges during the pandemic.

“Last time, it was more that flat curve, and this time, it’s been a faster, steeper surge,” Blevins said. 

Blevins said at the Danville City Commission meeting on Monday evening he had shared some of the information Ephraim McDowell Health has shared to their Facebook page, since he said it’s some of the best information he’s seen to indicate what hospitals are experiencing.

In a post EMH shared on Aug. 20 that Blevins cited during the meeting, a chart showed that in hospitalizations and deaths by vaccination status between March 1, 2021, to Aug. 19, the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized who were not vaccinated was 310. Of those, 26 patients died. By contrast, the number of vaccinated, hospitalized COVID-19 patients was 25, and of those, two people died.

“To me, that was one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time on how hospitals — what they’re dealing with right now,” Blevins said. 

Another chart in the same post, which Blevins also referenced, showed that in the time frame of Aug. 13-19, 84% of COVID-19 hospitalizations were unvaccinated individuals, 93.8% of ICU COVID-19 hospitalizations were unvaccinated patients, and 80.6% of medical-surgical COVID-19 hospitalizations were for those who were unvaccinated. EMH shared that they will continue posting updated data once a week.

Director of Marketing & Public Relations at Ephraim McDowell Health Jeremy Cocanaugher shared Tuesday’s data for EMRMC:

Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center:
• 32 cases – 10 of those in ICU on ventilators.  Twenty-two are medical-surgical.  Five of the 32 are vaccinated.
Blevins said when it comes to EMRMC, something he wants to remind people is, “We’re fortunate to have Ephriam in Danville, but what we have to remember — they really cover about a six- to 10-county community, and so when you get that many counties relying on one hospital, you can certainly get numbers. But I would also assume, you know, we have such a steep surge that I would expect deaths could surge at different times along with the number of positive cases.”