Baptist limiting visitors; blood center seeks donations

Blood drive UK on-campus drive Kentucky Blood Center

LEXINGTON, KY. (WTVQ) — Baptist Health Lexington is limiting visitation in response to growing concerns over the coronavirus in the region.

Meanwhile, the Kentucky Blood Center is issuing a plea for healthy people to donate blood to insure adequate blood supplies.

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At Baptist Health Lexington, the following visitor restrictions are in place as the medical center implements its infection control protocols to protect patients:

Maternity and NICU: Only parents and grandparents will be allowed to visit the NICU. On the Mother-Baby and Labor and Delivery units, parents, grandparents, and siblings without a fever or runny nose will be allowed to visit. The hospital asks the number of visitors to two at a time.

— All Other Adult Units (non-maternity): Patients in Intensive Care Units (ICU), Telemetry, and Medical/Surgical patients will be allowed up to two visitors at a time from immediate family. 

— Palliative Care, Emergent and Hospice Care: Clergy for family support along with immediate family members only.

Those with fever, runny nose, body aches, or respiratory symptoms should not visit.

“The well-being and safety of our patients and the community is always our top priority,” said Bill Sisson, president of Baptist Health Lexington. “Our healthcare professionals are highly trained and ready to handle any kind of emergency. We ask that visitors adhere to these temporary restrictions so that we can maintain the safest possible environment for everyone.”

The Kentucky Blood Center is trying to mitigate a drop in blood donations by asking healthy residents to continue to give.

“Emerging illness which could impact the blood supply is always at top of mind at blood centers,” said Dr. Dennis Williams, medical director at Kentucky Blood Center. “There is no known risk of transmitting the virus through blood, but the greater concern is the loss of donations due to drive cancellations, social distancing, and possible quarantines.”

KBC does ask donors to refrain from giving blood for 28 days after having traveled to Center for Disease Control Warning Level 3 countries where the coronavirus is most prominent. Currently included in this category are China, Iran, South Korea and Italy. Additionally, individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 — novel coronavirus — or have had close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 should not donate.

“We are urging those eligible, both repeat and first-time donors, to donate as soon as possible,” Williams said. “Blood donation continues to be a safe, simple life-saving process.”

To find out more about where to donate, make an appointment or complete an online health history, visit KBC has six donor centers and hosts mobile blood drives throughout the state daily. Walk-ins are always welcome.