Bardstown area health care leaders discuss COVID-19

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – Health care leaders in the Bardstown area joined a forum Thursday hosted by Flaget Memorial Hospital to discuss the impact of COVID-19 in Nelson and surrounding counties.

During the press conference, which can be viewed on the Flaget Memorial Hospital (click here) Facebook page, hospital leaders stressed the need for action to prevent another deadly wave of the coronavirus similar to the most recent surge caused by the delta variant. Health leaders also provided an update on local COVID-19 vaccinations, including the booster shot, and the approval of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-12 and how it may impact children and local schools.

“This last COVID-19 surge with the delta variant hit our community pretty hard,” said Jennifer Nolan, president, Flaget Memorial Hospital. “I saw the firsthand impact on our patients, their family members, and certainly our staff and providers. This truly has been a challenging experience during a really unprecedented time.”

“At Baptist Health hospitals, 100% of the patients who have a COVID-19 diagnosis and are on a ventilator are unvaccinated,” said Matthew Stiles, MD, a physician at Baptist Health Medical Group Family Medicine in Bardstown and medical director, Baptist Health Medical Group, Central Region. “My plea is personal, not just medical. The science speaks for itself. Take care of your loved ones, take care of your community, take care of the health care workers, and get vaccinated for people you care about.”

In addition, local community leaders also participated in the press conference to discuss challenges they have faced and concerns about a resurgence. They urge the community to continue taking action to protect themselves and loved ones.

“As a state, we are at 52 percent fully vaccinated,” said Melissa Phillips, public information officer, Lincoln Trail Health Department. “The leading public health strategy that we have is vaccination. The very real, very long-lasting effects of the disease itself are so much worse than any small potential side effects that you might see with the vaccine itself.”

To underscore the importance of using all preventative measures, experts used what they call the “Swiss cheese analogy.”

“If you look at these prevention strategies individually, you know, they’re not as effective. They’re like a slice of swiss cheese, there are holes,” said Phillips. “But when you start to stack those slices, those prevention strategies…when you stack those up, you don’t have the holes.”

Other community leaders participating in the press conference were Dr. Will Monarch, chief medical officer, Flaget Memorial Hospital; Dr. Stan Block, pediatrician, Physicians to Children and Adolescents; and Joe Prewitt, managing director, Nelson County Emergency Management.

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