Gov. Andy Beshear fielded a question Monday regarding the possibility of Our Lady of Bellefonte staying open past the scheduled closure date of April 30.

Although Beshear answered it with optimism and said the facility may be utilized if necessary, a spokesperson for OLBH said the availability of staff is the reason for the impending closure at the end of the month.

“The decision to close Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital on April 30 was made because of the availability of staff,” said Kevin Compton. “That has not changed and Bon Secours Mercy Health remains on schedule to exit the Ashland market (at the end of April).”

Compton said OLBH is working closely with King’s Daughters Medical Center and others to evaluate how it can assist during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“OLBH is working in concert with King’s Daughters to make arrangements for OLBH’s patient equipment, space, inpatient and outpatient facilities, and available associates to expand King’s Daughters’ footprint and resources in the event of a surge in demand for health care services,” Compton said.

A COVID-19 Task Force is working around the clock “to enable an agile response to this pandemic,” Compton said. 

Some countries, namely Italy, have dealt with a severe ventilator shortage, which has caused all sorts of devastation.

Some places across the United States are running into the same obstacle.

Ventilators could mean the difference between life and death for a lot of coronavirus patients. According to a story, Dr. Chetan Sathya, a pediatric surgeon at Northwell Health, said about 17% of coronavirus patients require a ventilator based on studies out of China.

How many ventilators are on hand here?

Shawn Jordan, of the Mountain Health Network, said Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center have 188 ventilators combined — 96 mechanical, 24 portable and 68 non-invasive.

According to spokesman Tom Dearing, KDMC has 41 ventilators.

St. Claire HealthCare possesses 15 ventilators available, according to public relations director Amy Riddle.

With fewer than 10 positive cases in the tri-state area, ventilators aren’t in high demand at this time.

Another potential concern is health insurance or, more specifically, lack of it.

“We see all patients regardless of ability to pay,” Dearing said of KDMC. “That’s something that we work on later, after the needed care is provided.”

The same goes for St. Claire, Riddle said. 

“This practice is the essence of our mission to proclaim God’s goodness through a healing ministry to the people of eastern Kentucky,” Riddle said.

Bon Secours has a non-emergency 24/7 telephone hotline — 1-888-700-9011 — dedicated to public questions about COVID-19. 

“This is for community members who have questions related to the coronavirus, are showing possible symptoms or may have had exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19,” Compton said. 

In addition, OLBH’s flu clinic, Compton said, is designed to evaluate and treat patients with flu-like symptoms. Visit for more information.

The KDMC Care 24/7 line is (606) 408-4999 or 1-844-324-2200. Visit for more information.


(606) 326-2664 |

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