Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center CEO Wayne Meriwether discusses the hospital's four-phase plan to reopen services. (Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette)
Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center CEO Wayne Meriwether discusses the hospital's four-phase plan to reopen services. (Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette)

As more COVID-19 testing becomes available, more positive cases are being reported across the country, and, following last week's blanket testing of all Grayson Nursing and Rehabilitation's residents, Grayson County's total number of positive cases increased to 60 over the weekend. 

Grayson County officials continued their daily press updates through the weekend as results started coming in from the blanket testing of Grayson Nursing and Rehab's residents. 

On Friday, officials reported 17 new positive cases of COVID-19 in Grayson County. Those cases were among 11 Grayson Nursing and Rehab residents, a 93-year-old female, a 101-year-old female, an 88-year-old female, an 82-year-old male, a 75-year-old male, a 59-year-old female, a 72-year-old female, a 95-year-old female, a 97-year-old female, a 93-year-old female, and an 80-year-old female; one 88-year-old female employee of Grayson Nursing and Rehab; and five Grayson County residents whose cases are not related to Grayson Nursing and Rehab, a 24-year-old female who is isolated at home, a 60-year-old female Perdue employee, a 45-year-old female Perdue employee, a 48-year-old female who is isolated at home, and a 56-year-old female who is hospitalized and in stable condition.

On Saturday, officials reported five new positive cases, three of which were among Grayson Nursing and Rehab residents isolated in the facility, an 86-year-old female, an 88-year-old male, and an 89-year-old female; one of which was a 19-year-old male employee of Grayson Nursing and Rehab; and the last of which was a 78-year-old female resident of Spring View Nursing and Rehabilitation, the first case reported in Spring View.

Then, on Sunday, officials reported 12 new positive cases of COVID-19 in Grayson County, 10 of which were among Grayson Nursing and Rehab residents, a 72-year-old male, a 76-year-old female, an 84-year-old female, a 94-year-old female, an 80-year-old female, a 77-year-old female, an 86-year-old male, an 86-year-old female, an 84-year-old male, and a 65-year-old male; and two of which were among Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center employees, a 26-year-old female and a 41-year-old female, the first cases reported among TLRMC employees. 

As of Sunday, four Grayson County COVID-19 patients remained hospitalized: a 66-year-old male in stable but critical condition, an 87-year-old female Grayson Nursing and Rehab resident in stable condition, a 96-year-old male Grayson Nursing and Rehab resident in stable condition, and a 56-year-old female in stable condition. 

Following the weekend's test results, 373 Grayson County residents have been tested for COVID-19, with 60 testing positive, 296 testing negative, and 17 test results pending. 

Henderson then urged residents to remain calm and remember that more positive cases were expected with the increase in testing. 

"Don't panic over the numbers," Henderson said. "We'll get through this." 

With the first positive test result reported in a Spring View Health and Rehab resident, Grayson County Public Health Director Josh Embry said plans are in place to begin blanket testing all residents of Spring View should the nursing home meet a certain threshold of positive cases. 

In a statement to the media, TLRMC addressed the two TLRMC employees who have tested positive for COVID-19:

Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center (TLRMC) continues to care for patients testing positive for COVID-19. A small number of employees at TLRMC have tested positive for the coronavirus. All are isolated at home and are receiving appropriate care. We are committed to protecting the privacy of both patients and employees under federal privacy rules and cannot provide further details on individual patients or employees.

The care and safety of our patients, visitors and team members remains our highest priority. Positive test results are not a surprise given the growing number of cases we are seeing across our state and around the nation. Upon learning of these cases, we took immediate action to isolate the individuals and notify those who may have come in contact with them.

In addition to following the latest infection control guidance from the CDC and the Kentucky Department of Public Health (KDPH), we continue to take aggressive measures to protect our patients and team members. All employees are screened for fever or other symptoms of respiratory disease before beginning their shifts. Any employee with symptoms is not allowed to enter the building. In addition, all hospital team members along with anyone entering the building are required to wear surgical masks at all times while in the hospital. Visitor restrictions remain in place for our hospital and clinics and temperature checks are conducted on all entrants to our buildings.

COVID-19 has become a world challenge. Everyone can play a role in preventing exposure. Social distancing (avoiding crowds and those who are ill, staying home if you are ill), social etiquette (wash hands, wipe common surfaces, cough/sneeze in your sleeve) are important ways we can all help.

Additional information on COVID-19 can be obtained from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

TLRMC CEO Wayne Meriwether said during Sunday's press briefing that the hospital, starting this week, is beginning a four-phase process of reopening the hospital's non-emergency services. 

Provided all criteria are met, the four-phase process will be as follows:

Phase 1 (end of April/first week of May) will include restarting diagnostic radiology and laboratory services and resuming non-urgent/emergency in-person and ambulatory visits. Pre-anesthesia testing services will also restart in preparation for an increase in surgeries. 

Phase 2 (first full week of May) will include resuming outpatient/ambulatory procedures. 

Phase 3 (second full week of May) will see some elective procedures requiring overnight hospital stays, such as knee and hip replacements, resumed.

And Phase 4 (the fourth full week of May) will see a full resumption of services. 

Meriwether also wished to address community members who may be in need of emergency treatment but are avoiding the hospital due to a fear of potentially contracting COVID-19. 

Since the pandemic began, TLRMC's emergency room patient volume has been cut in half, indicating that many local residents have that fear, according to Meriwether. 

"Don't be afraid to come to the hospital," Meriwether said, adding that, across the country, people in need of emergency services have not gone to the hospital and died.

"Don't do that," he said, explaining that there are numerous safety precautions in place to protect patients from infection when they come into the hospital.