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Local hospitals preparing for possible surge in patients

Without intervention, health experts warn the United States could surpass capacity at local hospitals.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — National and local leaders are warning if we don't stop the spread of COVID-19 our healthcare system could be stretched to its limits. So what do those limits look like in our community? We called Norton Healthcare and UofL Healthcare, the two largest healthcare providers in our area, to find out.

UofL's health system is made up of five hospitals, four medical centers, nearly 250 physician practice locations, more than 1,000 providers, the Frazier Rehab Center and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. A spokesperson told us there is no "capacity" and they will "ramp up as needed and continue to adjust."

Staff explained the healthcare network is looking at the number of beds that could be used to surge too, including beds that are licensed but may not be currently in use.

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They are also looking at properties not currently in use for patient care, including space that may not even be licensed for patient care. But they say in the case of an emergency they would look to the relaxed regulations which would make it possible for them to put patients in areas they haven't before.

Norton Healthcare spokespeople say the system has the ability to treat "a variety of patient mixes in larger numbers depending on their acuity." They said they have 1,837 licensed beds within, many of which are designated for certain kinds of patients, including 300 at the children's hospital.

The team says they have plans for surging their services- and re-utilizing spaces and they are meeting daily to evaluate bed usage.

Both healthcare facilities say the focus right now is on the needs of the community and to keep populations inside their facilities safe they are further limiting visitors.

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