ASHLAND, KY (WOWK) — After almost 67 years in the community, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital is closing its doors. It doesn’t come as a surprise to the Tri-State community as Bon Secours, the company owning OLBH, made the announcement back in January 2020.
At that time, OLBH said it would plan to close the hospital by September 2020. However, in late February 2020, a new announcement said OLBH would no longer offer acute care services, including emergency services, after April 30, 2020.
Since the original announcement in January 2020, job fairs have been put on to help the close to 1,000 OLBH employees find new jobs and opportunities. Many OLBH employees have found and accepted positions at other area hospitals, or have already tendered their resignations.
An OLBH spokesperson says medical records will remain open to patients in the hospital facility, and so will some of OLBH’s affiliated physician practices.
An agreement between OLBH and King’s Daughters Medical Center is also providing KDMC with access to OLBH’s facilities and equipment in the event the area suffers a surge of COVID-19 cases.
Thursday the community came together to say ‘thank you’ to all the staff who took care of them over the years.
“Well I have a lot of sweet memories but it’s quite bitter now to know that we won’t produce anymore at this hospital,” says Dr. Charles Rhodes.
Hundreds of cars including ambulances, police cruisers and even the hospital helicopter went by showing their appreciation. One of the familiar faces in the crowd was Jack Howell who has been a volunteer there for more than 20 years.
“It’s a sad, sad day…maybe I did something worth while for the hospital, but I got more rewards just being here for that and I salvaged a lot of friendship and I don’t know if you noticed people waving at me and hollering at me,” says Howell.
One moment that was emotional for many staff members was the bells ringing for the last time.
- KSP investigates fatal crash in Floyd County
- Minnesota AG to upgrade murder charge against officer in Floyd case; three other officers face charges
- Kanawha County polling place moved to new location for primary election
- WV State Police issue Silver Alert for missing man
- Coronavirus in Ohio Wednesday update: 36,792 cases, 2,299 deaths
- Tracking the Tropics: Tropical Storm Cristobal moving inland over Mexico
- Obama to address Floyd protests for first time publicly in online town hall
- Stadium-sized asteroid heading to Earth this week
- Health centers in WV awarded federal grants
- Job posting: Free beer and $20K to hike 2,200-mile trail