Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness Information

Our hospital is committed to providing the highest quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients, employees, providers, volunteers and visitors. We are continuing to monitor the evolving situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are taking the necessary steps to ensure we are fully prepared to care for patients, in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in partnership with our local and state health departments.

Visitor Restrictions, Single Entry Point and On-Site Screening Process

Out of abundance of caution and to help ensure the safety of our patients, providers, employees and community, Bourbon Community Hospital is implementing a zero-visitor protocol effective Thursday, March 26 at 6 am until further notice. The following exceptions include:

  • Pediatric patients may have two WELL parents or guardians during their hospital stay.
  • Patients who are at the end-of-life may have up to two WELL visitors for the length of time cleared by the attending physician. If requested by the patient or family, one WELL clergy member is allowed.
  • Patients undergoing surgery or an interventional procedure may have one WELL visitor and the WELL visitor must leave the hospital as soon as possible after the surgery or procedure.
  • Patients who are being seen in the emergency department, have a laboratory order, or diagnostic radiology appointment are not allowed to have a visitor with them unless there is an exception made by the administrator on-call. If mobile assistance is needed, a transporter will be available.
  • We ask all family and friends of emergency department patients to remain at home or in the car. If a visitor presents with an emergency department patient we will kindly ask them for a contact number and have them wait in their car instead of the waiting room. The only exception is during an immediate life threatening situation determined by the emergency department provider. One WELL visitor will be allowed during this circumstance.    

Additional exception requests will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the administrator on-call.

To prevent the spread of illness, visitors who are cleared are expected to do the following:

  • Must remain in the patient’s room at all times.
  • Must immediately leave the hospital once leaving the patient’s room. Visitors should not wander through hallways or spend time in common areas of the hospital, including lobbies, waiting areas, and vending areas.  
  • Limit the number of personal items brought into the hospital.
  • Must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer EVERY time entering and exiting a patient room.

As alternatives to visiting a patient, we recommend family and friends connect with patients by phone, laptop or tablet.

As the situation regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, so does our hospital’s response. In addition to measures we’ve taken including restricting visitors, closing common areas, and adhering diligently to Kentucky Department for Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, Bourbon Community Hospital is taking more precautionary steps to help ensure the safety of our patients, employees and visitors.

We have limited entry points to our facility and are screening everyone – employees, providers, patients and the visitors with exceptions – who enters the building. The following provides additional detail about both safety measures:

  • Single Entry Point: Until otherwise notified, everyone entering the facility should come through the ER entrance. All other entry points are closed until further notice. 

  • Screening Process: All patients, visitors with exceptions and staff entering the facility will be screened with questions regarding respiratory symptoms and travel history, per CDC recommendations. Patients with symptoms will immediately be provided masks and managed per CDC guidelines. Based on the screening, visitors may also be asked to take their temperature, speak further with someone, or come back at a later date. If any visitor with exceptions is experiencing any respiratory symptoms or has a fever, they will not be permitted to visit a patient - even if they are wearing a mask. Screening will occur upon every entry.

We know that these increased precautions may seem concerning. We do not want to cause alarm – but we do want to send a clear message to our community that we are prepared, responding appropriately and are committed to protecting the well-being of our patients, visitors, employees and community.

These increased safety measures do NOT mean that you cannot access the hospital or your providers. Please seek medical care as needed. And if you are concerned you may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, call your provider in advance of going to his or her office. Of course, if you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the emergency room.

Bourbon Community Hospital values the trust our community places in us, and we appreciate your understanding as we shift our visitation policies during this time.

COVID-19 Resources

Below are a number of resources to help educate you and your family on COVID-19. 

Quick Links:

Frequently Asked Questions

Our clinical teams are trained on the proper procedures and protocols to minimize the risk of spreading any infectious disease, including COVID-19. If we have any reason to believe a patient may have the novel coronavirus, our providers immediately implement the appropriate infection control measures in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. These include masking and isolating the patient, donning personal protective equipment (PPE) – inclusive of an N95 respirator mask, eye protection, gown and gloves – and ensuring environmental hygiene.

Who is at risk?

The risk to the general public remains low at this time. Right now, influenza is a much more significant threat to Americans. Protect yourself from the flu - it’s not too late to get your flu vaccine.

Evidence to date indicates those most at risk for becoming ill with COVID-19 are:
  • Those in close contact with someone with a confirmed COVID-19 infection, including healthcare workers and
  • Those who have traveled in the past 14 days in countries or cities with ongoing community spread of the virus.

The CDC Travel Health Notices website provides a list of countries with sustained COVID-19 transmission.

Travelers returning from one of the countries with community spread of COVID-19 should monitor themselves for fever and other symptoms of COVID-19, including cough and shortness of breath, for 14 days after they return from one of those countries.

What are the symptoms?

Patients with COVID-19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough 
  • Shortness of breath
Are there different strains of coronavirus?    

Yes, there are seven different coronaviruses known to infect humans.  

  • Four of the seven coronaviruses are very common, more mild (similar to the common cold), and most people will be infected with at least one of them in their lifetime. Healthcare providers test for these common coronaviruses routinely, and no public health measures are needed to address these common coronaviruses. People infected with the common coronaviruses can avoid passing them to others by covering their coughs and sneezes, cleaning their hands frequently and containing germs by staying home when ill. 
  • Three of the seven coronaviruses are rare and can cause more severe illness; this includes COVID-19. Testing for this virus can only be done at CDC; healthcare providers are not able to test for this virus independent of the public health department.
I have respiratory illness symptoms, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. What should I do?

If your symptoms are mild: 

  • Stay home except to get medical care

If you are experiencing mild respiratory illness symptoms, you care and should isolate at home during illness. Restrict outside activities, avoid public areas (work, school, etc.) and refrain from using public transportation. 

  • Treat symptoms as appropriate

Treat symptoms with rest, plenty of fluids and over-the-counter medications, as appropriate. 

  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home

​Separate yourself as much as possible, staying in a separate room and using a separate bathroom, if available. Restrict your contact with pets and other animals. 

  • Monitor your symptoms

​Be alert to any changing symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if your symptoms are getting worse (e.g. difficulty breathing)

  • Call ahead before visiting a healthcare provider

Before visiting a healthcare provider, call ahead before you arrive to tell them that you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19. This will allow your provider's office staff to properly prepare for your visit and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed. 

If your symptoms are getting worse: 

  • Seek prompt medical attention

Before visiting a healthcare provider, call ahead before you arrive to tell them that you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19. This will allow your provider's staff to properly prepare for your visit and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed. 

If you are having a medical emergency, please call 911 and notify the dispatch agent that your emergency is related to possible COVID-19-related symptoms. 

What should I do if I have traveled to an area with the infection and feel sick? 
 

If you have had exposure to a known case or traveled to a country with community spread and developed a fever or respiratory symptoms, please isolate yourself at home from others and contact the Kentucky Department for Public Health at (502) 564-3261 or the local health department before seeking medical care. If you need immediate medical care, contact your healthcare provider to describe your symptoms and any recent travels before you go to the healthcare facility.

How do I get tested for COVID-19?

At this time, tests for COVID-19 require a provider order. Visiting a provider does not necessarily mean you need testing or that you will receive testing. Your provider will work with the Bourbon County Health Department to follow all appropriate guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kentucky Department for Public Health to determine if testing is recommended based on your symptoms and recent travel history.

What are the qualifications for being tested for COVID-19?

Someone may be a candidate for testing if he or she has:

  1. A fever and cough or shortness of breath AND has been in close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case; or
  2. A fever and cough or shortness of breath and a history of travel from affected geographic areas; or
  3. A fever and cough or shortness of breath requiring hospitalization with no other source of infection.

Can I pick up or buy a test kit for COVID-19?

No. At this time, tests for COVID-19 require a provider order and are not commercially available to the public.

What do I do if I’ve been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19? I want to be tested.

If you have been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should self-monitor for fever or symptoms of respiratory illness for 14 days. If you begin to experience fever or symptoms of respiratory illness, and they are mild enough that you can manage them at home, you should remain at home in isolation. For details about how to correctly perform home isolation, tips for managing your illness at home with family members, and guidance on when you can discontinue home isolation, please visit the CDC’s website (link to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html)

If you are not experiencing symptoms, or you are experiencing mild symptoms you can manage at home in isolation, you do not need to seek medical care or testing.

I believe I have symptoms of COVID-19. What do I do next?

I’m experiencing mild symptoms right now, but I’m worried.

If you are experiencing fever and/or mild symptoms of respiratory illness, you can and should isolate at home during illness. For details about how to correctly perform home isolation, tips for managing your illness at home with family members, and guidance on when you can discontinue home isolation, please visit the CDC’s website (link to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html)

Should I get tested? Isolating yourself at home and self-monitoring mild symptoms is the best course of action unless you feel you need medical care.

Worsening symptoms – I need to see my provider.

Be alert to any changing symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if your symptoms are getting worse. If you feel you need to visit your healthcare provider, call ahead before you arrive to tell them you’re experiencing symptoms that may be related to COVID-19. This will allow your provider’s office staff to properly prepare for your visit and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed.

Will I be tested? Your provider will make this determination based on your symptoms, and recent travel history. You may or may not be tested, but your provider will follow all appropriate CDC and Kentucky Department for Public Health guidelines.

Emergent symptoms – I am having difficulty breathing.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 and notify the dispatch agent that your emergency is related to possible COVID-19 symptoms.

Will I be tested? Your emergency medicine provider will make this determination based on your symptoms and recent travel history. You may or may not be tested, but your provider will follow all appropriate CDC and Kentucky Department for Public Health guidelines.

How can I protect myself?         While there is currently no vaccine and no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus and those with the virus can seek medical care to relieve symptoms. There are simple, everyday actions you can take to help prevent spreading germs that cause respiratory viruses. These include:
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Close contact is defined as being within approximately 6 feet, or within the room or care area, of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment (PPE). Close contact can also include caring for, living with, visiting or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case. Having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (such as being coughed on) while not wearing recommended PPE.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

While we have not treated any patients with this virus at our hospital to date, Bourbon Community Hospital has taken the following measures to prepare, in accordance with CDC guidelines:

  • Patients in the Emergency Department and inpatient units are screened based on their recent travel history.
  • Personal protective equipment is available, including face masks and eye protection, for example.
  • Hand hygiene products are easily accessible throughout the facility.

Importantly, all of the above are standard operating protocols that are in place year-round to help ensure the health and well-being of everyone who enters our hospital.

BCH follows guidance from our local health department, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding precautions and testing. We recommend the public continue to follow these trusted sources for the latest information.We want to assure our community that our providers and clinical teams are well-trained and prepared to manage outbreaks of viruses and infectious diseases, including the coronavirus. For more information on the virus, please contact the health department or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.

A complete list of frequently asked questions and answers about COVID-19 is available on the CDC website, by clicking here

Supporting Efforts to Keep Our Community Healthy

Our community – along with communities around the world – is navigating unprecedented challenges as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread. The cycle of our lives and neighborhoods has been altered, and we are all working to accommodate an ever-changing new normal. Fear and uncertainty complicate our collective abilities to do this.  

Bourbon Community Hospital is dedicated to helping everyone in our region navigate the COVID-19 environment in which we are all living right now. We have received many questions from our patients, partners and neighbors about how people can assist our efforts to keep our community as safe and healthy as possible. 

Here are some important actions everyone can take:

  1. Stay home. In times of trouble, our first instinct is to reach out – to come together and help one another. That’s why so many people are struggling with the best and most crucial advice healthcare experts are giving: stay at home and keep your distance from friends, neighbors, and even family. But we all must listen to and follow this advice. People’s lives depend on it – especially our healthcare workers and those who are over 60 or already live with underlying health conditions.

    We encourage everyone to stay in your own home as much as possible. Only go out if you have to, and choose a time to go to the grocery or pharmacy when it’s not crowded. If you see other people, try to stay at least six feet away from them, and don’t touch them. No handshakes, hug, or kisses. Remember: a lot of people who are carrying this virus won’t show any symptoms. So, the surest way to avoid catching it is to maintain social distance and cancel all gatherings, even small ones.

  1. Follow medical guidance. If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, we recommend that you self-monitor for fever or symptoms of respiratory illness for 14 days. If you begin to experience fever or symptoms of respiratory illness, and they are mild enough that you can manage them at home, you should remain at home in isolation.

    Be alert to any changing symptoms and seek medical attention if your symptoms worsen. If you feel you need to visit your healthcare provider, call ahead before you arrive to tell them you’re experiencing symptoms that may be related to COVID-19. This will allow your provider’s office staff to properly prepare for your visit and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed.

    If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 and notify the dispatch agent that your emergency is related to possible COVID-19 symptoms.

  1. Donate medical and protective equipment and supplies. Hospitals across our nation are bracing for shortages of medical and protective equipment and supplies such as disposable masks, gowns, gloves and shoe covers. These are essential in protecting our staff on the front lines of caring for patients. If you have supplies and equipment such as these, please consider donating them to Bourbon Community Hospital. Those with unused supplies and equipment to donate may contact Administration at 859-987-1000 to arrange delivery. 

  1. Donate blood. In addition to potential supply shortages, healthcare providers are preparing for blood shortages. Many communities have had to cancel blood drives due to COVID-19, so blood in many regions is in short supply. Donating blood is a safe process, and you can help out by calling 800-775-2522 or visiting kybloodcenter.org to find a donation location near you.

Bourbon Community Hospital is grateful for our community’s ongoing support and cooperation as we work to protect local families from the spread of COVID-19. We appreciate all that you do and will continue to provide information on what we know about the virus and how you can help us keep our region healthy.