Back in March, an executive order was signed banning all non-essential medical procedures to help contain the spread of COVID-19. It was also enforced to help with the amount of PPE (personal protective equipment) and make sure the front line health care workers had enough when dealing with the virus.
During Governor Beshear’s daily briefing on April 23, he announced that health care services can begin to gradually reopen on Monday, April 27. What exactly does this mean for facility protocol? What type of health care can begin to reopen?
Both the Governor and the Department for Public Health feel comfortable with easing some restrictions on health care procedures because Kentuckians have helped flatten the curve. This reopening is the first step under the new Healthy at Work initiative that will help businesses safely reopen when the time is right.
“Doing this right is about saving lives, making employees safe and making sure the people they serve are safe when we reopen,” Gov. Beshear said.
On Monday, April 27 health care practitioners can resume non-urgent/emergent services, diagnostic radiology, and lab services in:
- Hospital outpatient setting
- health care clinics and medical offices
- physical therapy settings, chiropractic offices and optometrists
- dental offices (but with enhanced aerosol protections)
However, these guidelines do not pertain to long-term care facilities, prisons, or other settings that have separate guidance.
“This is intended to be a phased, gradual reopening so that we can do this thoughtfully, safely, and see the consequences of our actions to make the necessary adjustments,” said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner for the Department for Public Health.
Dr. Stack and the Governor emphasized during the press conference that this is a phased, gradual reopening of services and if there is a surge of COVID-19, these guidelines may require adjustment.
With the reopening, facilities should still practice social distancing and employ other steps to minimize contact between individuals. It was also recommended that workers must wear surgical or procedural masks while in the facility at all times and patients should wear surgical/procedural masks or cloth masks/face covering in all health care settings.
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