LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 3, 2020) — UK HealthCare is moving ahead with plans for a 400-bed field hospital on the University of Kentucky campus to care for a potential surge in patients who contract the coronavirus (COVID-19), officials said Friday.
“As the Commonwealth’s health care provider for advanced and critical care, it is essential that we are prepared for any scenario to ensure we are meeting the needs of our community and the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Mark F. Newman, UK’s executive vice president for health affairs. “We need to do whatever is necessary to ensure that highest quality of care is provided to meet the challenges associated with this unprecedented public health crisis.”
Specifically, Newman announced today that UK HealthCare is preparing to stand up a 400-bed field hospital that will be ready in the next two weeks at the Nutter Field House, the UK Football team’s practice facility on the south side of campus near Kroger Field.
Details of that hospital include:
- Rooms will be partitioned.
- Standard Sub Flooring System, Nurses Stations, Heavy Duty Cots, Dedicated Break Rooms.
- Nebulizing Station or Area.
- Shower Units with Daily Sanitization, Universal Body Soap and Sanitization of Shower Units.
- Daily Towel Service, Restroom Units with Daily Sanitization, Portable Handwashing Stations.
- Daily Laundry Service.
- Temporary generated power to ensure potable water for food services, shower and restroom.
“Mitch Barnhart and the UK Athletics Department stood up immediately to offer assistance in meeting this public health crisis,” Newman said. “They have been, and continue to be, critical partners in our ability to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our community at this crucial time.”
UK and UK HealthCare officials have been working for weeks to map scenarios to handle patient care needs across the region. That work has continued in partnership with Lexington regional hospitals, the State Health Commissioner and Gov. Andy Beshear to address how and where patients would be cared for as the number of COVID-19 patients surges in the coming weeks.
Models of the trajectory of the virus vary regarding scope and depth of surge, Newman said. In addition, how efforts to “flatten the curve” through social distancing and other measures work will impact the need for a field hospital and other responses.
“We have been working internally for weeks on scenario mapping to be prepared to handle the critical care needs of our community and region — no matter the scenario. That’s our responsibility,” Newman said. “As the state’s leader in providing advanced, specialty care, that kind of methodical, strategic thought process has guided us as we’ve implemented in-house testing capacity, our drive-thru testing clinic and other measures.”
Specifically, state law allows for emergency purchase procedures (under KRS 45A-095) to ensure timely completion of this project. Newman said only one firm, ultimately, could dependably provide the range of those needs in the timeframe required. Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) is a Lexington-based logistic and emergency support services company, which offered the best range of services that could be put in place in such a quick timeframe. EDS, for example, has helped construct and stand up several field hospitals in other states already.
“This kind of planning and preparation speaks to our mission as the state’s largest health care provider and our responsibility to meet the critical-care needs of Kentucky,” Newman said. “This is who we are. This is what we do.”
To see a video of progression on the field hospital, visit UK's YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/DySrEnKNET4.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.