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Kentucky governor wants OLBH to remain open

RUSSELL, Ky. — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said on Monday that he would like Our Lady of Bellefonte to remain open because of an expected surge in COVID-19 cases in the commonwealth.

OLBH responded that it is continuing with its plans to close and is working with King’s Daughter’s Medical Center in the case of a surge of coronavirus cases.

In January, OLBH announced that the hospital in Russell, Kentucky, system-owned care sites and its physician network, Bellefonte Physician Services, would be closing. In February, it announced that it would be ending hospital-based patient care at OLBH on April 30 and that only the medical records department would be staying open, as well as many OLBH’s affiliated physician practices.

Beshear said medical experts expect hospitals to be at full capacity within a month and the state needs the hospital to be operating.

In a statement, OLBH said they are continuing plans to close the facility.

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

OLBH said it is working closely with King’s Daughters Medical Center and others to evaluate how they 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,” the statement said.