As cases surge in Kentucky and Ohio, one hospital is begging residents to wear masks and practice social distancing, as it reaches capacity due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our hospital is at capacity. We are working to open a third nursing unit to care for COVID patients,” wrote Kristie Whitlatch, president and CEO of King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, Kentucky. “Multiple nursing units dedicated to one virus are unprecedented in our 120-year history.”
In her letter, posted to Facebook on Friday, Whitlatch emphasizes the “sense of urgency” to stop the spread of Covid-19. She urges residents to wear masks, social distance, stay home, avoid gatherings and wash their hands.
“Now, I am asking you to trust me as I ask for your cooperation as COVID is intensely surging in our communities,” she wrote. “No longer can we say it is primarily impacting those with underlying health conditions or nursing home residents. It is attacking babies, children and healthy, active men and women who have no idea how they were exposed. We are also seeing difficult recoveries, many taking months to fully recover and some who have yet to fully recover and may see the impact for the rest of their lives.”
King’s Daughters serves both eastern Kentucky and southern Ohio. Whitlatch went on to outline the devastation Covid-19 is wrecking locally, “Not in some big city but our hometowns,” she wrote.
The hospital has seen 22 Covid-related deaths total, and over 120 new positive cases just last week, she said. At that rate, the hospital is expecting to see an unprecedented 633 new cases in September alone, with the hospital already closing in on 75% capacity.
“If you are wearing your mask and following the other guidelines you are our heroes too. By following the simple guidelines above, you can help stop the surge,” she wrote, concluding the letter.
The plea from Whitlatch comes as Covid-19 cases surge in rural areas.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said last month that while there has been a decrease in coronavirus cases in urban areas, rural areas of the state have seen an increase.