LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — Patient prioritization procedures have been updated at Baptist Health Hospital in Lexington.

Inpatient elective surgeries are now postponed until further notice. These are non-urgent surgeries and procedures that require a hospital bed afterward for recovery.

Hospital officials said the wave of COVID-19 cases and severe staffing shortages are the major drivers for the decision.

The main goal is to conserve bed space at a time where their projected hospitalization rate is uncertain.

“We still want to provide the care we would normally prove, and so it gets difficult as the numbers go up, and remember we’re, I think, a 450-bed hospital or so and we have 85 cases right now,” said David Dougherty, infectious disease specialist at Baptist Health Lexington.

Doughtery said they will continue to give priority to urgent cases, and that outpatient surgeries will not be affected at this time.