Kentucky Fairgrounds COVID Field Hospital ‘Mothballed’

Jul 2, 2020

Credit Dale Greer, U.S. Air National Guard photo

The field hospital at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville has been ‘mothballed’, but could be reactivated in a week or less if Kentucky experiences a surge in cases of COVID-19, according to the Kentucky National Guard.

As other states experience surging cases of virus, Kentucky has so far maintained a “plateau,” meaning daily cases may go up or down, but average out over time.

Kentucky has averaged 221 new cases per day over the last week, according to the WFPL News Covid-19 tracker.

The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in Kentucky remains low at 3.6% compared to the positivity rates seen in states including Arizona (24%), South Carolina (14%), Texas (14.4%) and Florida (16%), according to covidexiststrategy.org.

Taking a looking at available hospital space, Kentucky has 11,565 unoccupied hospital beds and 654 intensive care unit (ICU) beds as of July 1, according to data provided by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

In total, there were 495 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of July 1. Seventy-three of those patients were in the ICU.

 

Credit Graph: Jess Clark (WFPL) / Source: Ky. Department of Public Health

If the surges happening in other states, happens in Kentucky, Major Stephen Martin with the Kentucky National Guard said the field hospital at the state fairgrounds could be online in a week or less.

“So the alternate care facility at the Kentucky Fairgrounds and Expo Center is currently mothballed,” Martin said. “There are still beds there and everything is setup but we really just took the crews down and locked the doors.”

Martin said the decision to reopen the facility would be left to the Kentucky Health Cabinet and Gov. Andy Beshear.

As of July 1, Beshear said the state has seen 15,842 cases of coronavirus, 220 of which were reported on Wednesday.

So far, 572 people have died from COVID-19.

“Each one of these folks was special. Each one of them won’t get to see their friends, their neighbors, their kids and grandkids anymore,” said Beshear in a press release. “We cannot let this become the new normal. I’m heartbroken for these families.”