DANVILLE — The emergency room at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center in Danville was on lockdown Saturday afternoon into Saturday night as doctors evaluated a patient for a potential health risk.
But late in the evening, the hospital announced the patient tested positive for two strains of adult chicken pox.
Saturday night, Gwenda Bond, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, told the Associated Press that the patient likely did not pose a public health risk. She said the hospital was following its precautionary protocols in dealing with the patient.
In a written statement earlier Saturday, hospital spokesman Jeremy Cocanougher said "we do not have definitive information that would either rule in or rule out that there is a risk to the community. Know that we are working closely with local and state health officials and are coordinating with" the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Danville Police Chief Tony Gray said his information from an officer at the scene was that the emergency room was put on lockdown because a woman "has a condition that the ER staff is not really sure what it is, so they're just taking precautions."
The woman had apparently been overseas recently but has been isolated, Gray said. He did not know the symptoms the woman exhibited.
Shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday, Cocanougher said he did not know whether the patient's condition posed a risk. But he said emergency medical services were notified to take patients to hospitals in Harrodsburg or Stanford. Early Saturday night, Danville police officers stood by the drive-in entrance to the emergency room, which was blocked with yellow tape. Cruisers with blue lights flashing were parked by the entrance.
Cocanougher said that the patient came to the emergency room sometime before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, and that the emergency room had been on lockdown since then.
CDC spokeswoman Bernadette Burden said the agency was "contacted today by Kentucky state health officials in regard to a patient of concern" at a hospital. She said she wasn't sure when the call came but thought it was between 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday.
The CDC "provided technical assistance by way of a conference call," Burden said.
Mike Wilder, director of Boyle County's emergency management agency, said the situation was being handled by the hospital.
In other parts of the hospital Saturday, members of the public and hospital personnel went quietly about their business.