Baptist Health suspends visitation at hospitals, medical offices

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Baptist Health

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Effective Tuesday, March 24, Baptist Health is suspending visitation at all of its hospitals, and allowing only essential caregivers to accompany patients for medical appointments or tests. There will be limited exceptions.

For the past two weeks, Baptist Health has been progressively restricting access to its hospitals and Baptist Health Medical Group offices to protect patients from the COVID-19 virus.

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“This is a difficult but necessary step to help deal with this ever-changing situation,” said Baptist Health CEO Gerard Colman. “We apologize for the inconvenience to our patients and their loved ones, but we must keep patient and staff safety our top priority. With Baptist Health’s long-standing reputation of providing ‘treat-you-like-family’ care, you know your family members and friends are in good hands.”

At the hospitals, there will be limited exceptions, allowing one healthy visitor or companion for:

  • Patients under age 18 (must be a parent or guardian)
  • Women in labor (birthing partner)
  • End-of-life patients (clergy)
  • Hospice or end-of-life patients (visitor)
  • Dependent patients who require assistance (caregiver)

Those allowed to visit or accompany a patient will be screened prior to visitation, which may include having a temperature taken. Only one visitor or companion for a patient may be in the hospital at one time.

Access to the hospital is restricted to the main entrance of the North Tower and for emergency care, patients will still go to the Emergency Department. At those points, screenings will include a temperature check and questions about travel history and previous contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.

“We encourage everyone to use their personal electronic devices to use virtual means such as FaceTime or Skype to communicate with their loved ones in the hospital,” said Bill Sisson, president of Baptist Health Lexington.

For Baptist Health Medical Group offices and outpatient facilities, a single essential caregiver will be allowed for:

  • Child under age 18 (parent)
  • Dependent adult who requires assistance (caregiver)
  • End-of-life patient (determined on case-by-case basis)

Other recent measures taken by Baptist Health include postponement of elective surgeries and of certain diagnostic screening tests.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.