Updated: March 23, 2023

Screening & Testing
Benefits & Leave
Surge Plan
Providers/Referring Providers

Refer to the COVID-19 Vaccine Information page for FAQs specifically about vaccinations.



Q: Are there visitation restrictions at UK HealthCare?
A: Yes, visitor restrictions are regularly updated.

Q: How are we screening patients who appear in our clinics?
A: As of Monday, March 13, testing and screening for asymptomatic patients has been discontinued.

Q: Where are patients that have COVID-19 being treated? What part of the hospital should I avoid?
A: Any patient diagnosed presumptive positive for COVID-19 will be in isolation and will not pose any risk to other patients or their families. The hospital is a safe environment of care.

Q: What should I do if I (or someone in my family) feel sick and believe it is COVID-19?
A: The symptoms of COVID-19, a common cold and influenza are similar.
Call your health care provider and discuss your symptoms. COVID-19 tests are now available for home testing.

Q: What is expected of a person/patient sent home for home isolation?
A: The CDC’s webpage provide guidance on isolation based on a variety of situations.

Q: We are instructing patients to wear their own mask, and if they don’t we will give them one. What do we do if the patient refuses to wear a mask?
A: A medical-grade mask must be worn to enter the premises.

If the patient is in a clinic or presents for an elective procedure, the patient may be rescheduled or the issue presented to the provider to determine whether the patient should be rescheduled. The provider may refuse to see the patient.

If an unmasked patient has made it past the screeners and is in the emergency department or admitted, their refusal to wear a mask should be escalated to the attending physician or provider to determine whether the patient should be discharged if medically stable or whether to continue to treat the patient.

  • If the patient is allowed to remain, the attending physician or provider will advise staff whether any extra precautions should be taken.
  • No visitor will be allowed to remain if the patient refuses to wear a mask.

See UK HealthCare Policy on Wearing a Mask for more information, including links to the process to follow if a patient or visitor refuses to wear a mask and a printable copy of the mask policy.

Q: If a patient refuses to wear a mask, and the decision is made to continue to treat the patient, what precautions should staff take?
A: Staff interacting with all patients should still be wearing standard mask regardless of COVID-19 status.

Q:  Where can patients get COVID-19 information?
A: Please see UK HealthCare’s website for updated information for patients and the public.

For more information:

State COVID-19 Hotline: 1-800-722-5725 Updates:

Lexington Coronavirus – COVID-19 Page:

Q: What do I tell colleagues and friends that ask about patients with COVID-19?
A: Standard HIPAA Privacy Rules and UK HealthCare Privacy policies still apply to all UK HealthCare staff. Privacy staff monitor and audit medical record accesses on any affected patients. Additionally, our privacy staff monitor any reports of social media disclosures regarding patients. Providers and staff should continue to use good patient privacy practices during a time when there are patients of high media interest.

If you have any questions about what is permitted regarding patient privacy, you can call Corporate Compliance at 859-323-8002 or email Richard Chapman at

Q: What if a patient who has tested positive for COVID-19 leaves against medical advice?
A: We will report that to the Kentucky Department of Public Health.

Q: What if a patient who meets the clinical indications refuses COVID-19 testing?
A: If a patient refuses testing, we cannot make them take the test. The patient will be placed in respiratory – rule out isolation.


Q:  What should be done if visitors are not truthful about their COVID status in order to see their family member?
A:  We have to assume positive intent and trust that our visitors will be truthful and everyone is expected to wear masks while in the hospital.

Q:  What are the specific visitor restrictions for OB, ambulatory, etc.?
A:  Read the visitor policy.

Q:  If we have outpatient pediatric surgery, can both parents/legal guardians come back?
A:  Read the visitor policy.

Screening & Testing

Q:  Are appointments needed for COVID-19 testing?
A: Yes. You need an appointment for all COVID-19 testing.


Q: What can I do if a colleague is not wearing a mask in areas where masks are still required? What should I say?
A: First, assume the best in your colleague.  They may have forgotten to put it on, or not realized they would be in an area it’s still required.  Kind support from colleagues is one of the best ways to help establish new habits.  Here are some ideas on what you can say to support healthy behaviors on campus:

  • Don’t forget your mask!
  • Let’s make sure we follow the mask requirements. 
  • Remember, we must wear masks over our nose and mouth to prevent spreading COVID-19 and other germs.
  • Covering only the mouth does not offer full protection from infection.
  • Please wear a mask when you come to my office/cubicle.

Q: I have a low immune system, what documentation will I need to work from home?
A: If you have an immunocompromised system and are seeking accommodations due to concerns about possible exposure to COVID-19, you may contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity. You must fill out the ADA Accommodation Form and your provider will fill out the Medical Inquiry Form.

You may also find the forms at Possible accommodations could be working from home, reassignment to an area in which exposure risk is reduced, or approved leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

If leave is the only reasonable accommodation available, you would utilize any accrued time for the preventive measures.

You may view control and prevention guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at You should also talk with your health care provider for advice on any additional recommended precautions.

Q: Do we have traveler contracts?
A: Traveler contracts have been reinstated in order to address current vacancies and increase acuity/volume of patients.

Q: Is there a plan to move employees to remote work wherever possible?
A: Even those who do not provide direct patient care are key to supporting our clinical teams and our patients. We must first ensure clinical operations can continue with minimal interruption to workflow. Within this context, UK HealthCare has provided guidance to leaders on making decisions regarding remote/flexible work options. Talk to your leader about your options.

Q: If I feel like working while in official quarantine, can I?
A: If an employee is quarantined by a physician or public health official and occupies a position that is conducive to remote work, the employee should speak with their manager regarding the possibility of working remotely while quarantined.

Q: My position requires on-site work, as determined by our management team. How can I ensure I am not contributing to our state/hospital community spread?
A: Follow the safety protocols: good hand hygiene, physical distancing and wearing a mask  when needed.

Q: Some employees are reporting feelings of isolation. What resources are available for employees experiencing isolation and loneliness?
A: For help and support, employees are also encouraged to contact the Work+Life Connections employee counseling office or utilize LiveHealth online. The employee counseling office offers sessions at no cost to the employee; LiveHealth is also waiving co-pays for all telehealth visits.

Q: Can we have a policy to change work days? Longer days and add another day off?
A: Employees should work with their area manager to discuss any proposed changes to their current schedule. Per the remote work policy, the department manager shall establish a work schedule for each remote or hybrid employee that outlines when the employee needs to be available for meetings. Remote and hybrid workers should have some flexibility as to their work schedule. A flexible schedule may not work for every department or employee’s needs.

UK Human Resources and Employee Information

Benefits & Leave

Q: If an employee is sent home on quarantine by Infection Prevention and Control from an external exposure, does the absence count as unexcused if they cannot work from home?

  • If employee can work remotely, the employee should discuss with the manager specific arrangements to work remotely. As of July 1, 2022, we are now following the UK HealthCare attendance policy for absences, including COVID-19.

Q: Will staff qualify for unemployment if they are quarantined at home and not being paid?

  • Please refer to the information posted under the FAQs on the COVID site, such as the Tip Sheet on Unemployment Insurance .
  • A supervisor does not have the authority to tell an employee they will get unemployment benefits.
  • A supervisor cannot tell an employee how much they will get in unemployment insurance benefits.
  • There may be unknown factors, such as previous employment, past state unemployment insurance overpayments to the employee, etc. For example, an employee may not have worked long enough to be eligible for unemployment insurance.

Q: If employees that have heart and lung issues cannot do their job at home but stay at home; will they be allowed to use sick time, vacation time, or be paid in another way?

If an employee cannot work at all, our HR Employee Relations team can help employees explore options for leave use. Please call them at (859) 257-8758. If you have an immunocompromised system and are seeking accommodations due to concerns about possible exposure to COVID-19, you may contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity.

Q: I heard that UK-insured employees have an option for free, no pay telehealth.  What are the details?

A: UK-insured employees continue to have options for free, no co-pay telehealth. $0 co-pays began in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will now remain at $0 indefinitely. Options include using the LiveHealth Online website or app to connect with medical and mental health professionals, and connecting with UK HealthCare providers through UK TeleCare and UK Urgent Telecare.

Q: How should staff request vacation leave? 

A: Staff who want to take time off should follow the normal process of requesting vacation leave, which is subject to supervisor approval.

Q: Does the federal emergency Family Medical Leave Extension Act apply to UK HealthCare and Eastern State Hospital/Central Kentucky Recovery Center employees?

A: No, the regulation provides an exclusion for health care workers and first responders. All UK HealthCare employees (PA1500), including clinical providers/faculty and advanced practice providers and Eastern State Hospital/Central Kentucky Recovery Center employees are excluded.


Q:  Are we now allowing elective surgeries to be done on COVID-positive patients? If yes, will those patients be cohorted away from negative surgical patients?

A: If a patient is COVID+ and the procedure is not urgent or emergent, then the procedure is cancelled and rescheduled 10-14 days past the positive test date, or when the patient is released from isolation by their local health department. Providers do have the discretion to proceed with an urgent or emergent procedure based on the patient’s clinical condition if the patient is COVID+.  These procedures are performed in a COVID-designated procedure room.

Q:  How is UKHC ensuring patient protection from COVID?

A:  All staff and providers are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 wear a mask in hospital settings or in face-to-face encounters in ambulatory exam rooms.

Surge Plan

Q: In the plan, is there a point when we would reestablish the field hospital?

A: Not at this time. We will use the Regional Operations Center (ROC) to help us triage patients in and out of the hospital before numbers would escalate to a level where the field hospital would be implemented.

Q: What is your plan for redeployment of subspecialty fellows and faculty if the need arises?

A: Currently, we have no specific plan for redeployment of subspecialty fellows and faculty. However, if the need arises, subspecialty faculty and house staff may be asked to assist as needed.

Q: Does UK HealthCare have enough medical staff for a potential COVID-19 surge (as in, enough nurses for over 300 COVID patients)?

A: When numbers rise, human resources become more difficult. The more patients we have, the more medical personnel are stretched. That is why strategies like the Regional Operations Center (ROC) become so important to triage patients to appropriate hospitals and conserve UK resources for the sickest patients.


Providers/Referring Providers

Q: Do our COVID-19 surge plans take into account the patients we will get from Tennessee, West Virginia and small area hospitals? Will/can our “never refuse an ICU transfer” policy remain in place?

A: UK HealthCare temporarily suspended our auto-accept policy for internal medicine early on in the pandemic and always has that option, should the need arise.

Q: The current plan for admission of patients from outside hospitals is updated as follows:

  1. UK HealthCare admission criteria remains unchanged; patients should not be sent to UK HealthCare for COVID-19 testing unless they have medical needs that cannot be met at the outside hospital.
  2. Patients do not require hospitalization for COVID-19 symptoms nor for viral testing. If the patient’s symptoms are mild, the patient should be instructed to return home and call their primary care provider if their symptoms worsen.

Q: Which COVID-19 antibody test does UK use? Does it detect the spike protein? Will it detect vaccine response?

A: UK HealthCare currently uses the Abbott ARCHITECT SARS-CoV-2 IgG test, an immunoassay that detects antibodies directed to a recombinant SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid antigen.  It does not detect antibodies made in response to the spike protein after vaccination.  A positive result with this test indicates prior exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, not vaccination.

Q: Do we have statistics about reinfection rates and average length of immunity after testing positive for COVID-19? Can a patient get COVID-19 a second time?

A: The immune response following COVID-19 infection seems to last several months but it is not known how long it remains protective. The rate of reinfections in the short term following an infection is low. The risk of being reinfected is 80% lower in the first 6 months following an initial infection.

Q: What is RT-PCR and CT in regards to COVID-19?

  1. RT-PCR, or reverse-transcriptase-polymerase-chain-reactions, is a test we currently use at UK HealthCare. The PCR test amplifies genetic matter from the virus in cycles; the fewer cycles required, the greater the amount of virus in the sample. The number of amplification cycles is called the cycle threshold/ threshold cycle time, or CT. The use of CT in diagnosis is only one piece of data and should not be used alone for determination of a patient’s infectious risk.  CT also vary between instruments and testing platforms, so there is not a single number that can be used across all patients.
  2. As stated above, RT-PCR does not differentiate between the number of active, live viruses and pieces of dead virus.

Q: Can we start reporting the CT value of our PCR tests ALONG WITH the result to give us a better understanding the actual viral load of the patient?

A: The use of cycle times/ cycle thresholds in the diagnosis of COVID-19 are not currently the gold standard. This is simply one piece of information and varies depending upon the instrument being used.

Q: Why are patients being removed from isolation rooms 20 days after their admission? Are these patients still able to spread the virus?


a. This practice is based on recommendations from the CDC that were released in August 2020. After several studies showed that patients with COVID did not have active virus present after 15 days. This evidence, in combination with decades of scientific research on viral replication, helped formulate the guideline. UK HealthCare made the decision to wait and look at the evidence in our own population and thus did not implement this change in isolation until November.

b. From the CDC’s data, UKHC made the decision to remove patients with severe illness out of isolation after 20 consecutive days since diagnosis. Patients without severe illness may be removed prior to 20 days by contacting IPAC.

c. While this does mean patients that are still admitted may be moved to another unit, staff are still required to follow PPE precautions (masks, gloves and eyewear) and will still have access to the full PPE required in COVID-19 patient rooms if they wish.

d. CDC data;

Q: How does COVID-19 impact the body in such ways that they may no longer have COVID-19 but still have respiratory issues (such as ARDS)?

A: ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) is a global term not specific to COVID-19. ARDS can occur from influenza and many other nonviral causes. ARDS often occurs after people have recovered from viral infection and is not contagious.