One-third of Kentucky hospitals report critical staffing shortages

‘Uncharted territory’: One-third of Kentucky hospitals report critical staffing shortages

All right, Good afternoon. Yesterday's Covid report. It was hard and I'm gonna admit up front today, a little emotional and a little raw. Seeing nearly 5000 cases and 65 Kentucky ins that we lost in just one day's report is um, tough. We've been in days like this actually only been two days with more cases in the entire pandemic. But to know, we have the third highest day of cases and lost that many people at a time where it is entirely preventable. Just hit you on an entirely different level. We are as a state now in a critical situation. And in fact, we've now moved the uncharted territory. Let's talk about hospitalizations. Hospitalizations have increased every day, without exception. For the past 42 days. From 239 on July 14, 2 2074 on August 25, 42 straight days of more Kentucky is being so sick with Covid. They end up in the hospital. Let's remind you of some more statistics that start from July 14 on that day, we had 60 people in an intensive care unit fighting for their lives against COVID-19. As of yesterday, We have 549 On July 14 we had 25 people on a ventilator. That's when you're praying for survival. As of yesterday, We now have 338 On July 14 or positivity rate was 3.8, And in fact just weeks before it gotten down to 1.79 today. It's at a record high of 13.1, the highest. Any time since we have had adequate testing to truly get a positivity rate. Unfortunately, that's not those aren't the only records that we've broken recently. We have not just had hospitalizations increase every single day for the last 42 days. We set a new record for hospitalizations for five straight days. Before the delta variant. Our record number of hospitalizations, there's even with the alpha variant or or before. Um we had vaccines before um we knew how well masks work. So before the delta variant, our record number of hospitalization was 1,817. I was on December 17, 2020. And let me tell you December was a really deadly year last year for Kentucky ins. But on August 21 We broke that record at 1,841 hospitalizations and today This scene before the numbers come in later this afternoon, 2,074 Kentucky ins are in the hospital with this virus. The point is with all these numbers, we're not just critical. We are in uncharted territory. We've been fighting this virus for more than 18 months. We've never been where we are today. And as horrible as last year surge was and it it was awesome. We're never in a position where doctors worried they need to choose between treating a patient who can't breathe because of covid or treat a patient who's bleeding out because of a car accident. That is the strain that our hospitals are under the difference in between right now. Uncharted territory and where we were before, which in terms of hospitalizations and ICU and ventilators as bad as it was. It's not as bad as as it is right now differences. We know how to win. We know how to prevent this devastation. We know how to free up space in our emergency rooms for those that are in car accidents or have strokes. I remember my family have a really bad fall and need that emergency treatment. We know how well masks were in ways that we can prevent the spread and ultimately have fewer people that are sick in need of hospitalization. The difference between now and uncharted dangerous territory and before is we have the answer. They are the safe and effective vaccines full FDA approval for won the gold standard. The same studies that they have done for the 12 vaccines. You gotta take before sixth grade that we have all had More than 30 plus shots for them. And we know while we are getting everybody vaccinated, there's a really easy way to practice the golden rule to love your neighbor as yourself. And that's to wear a mask. You know, if if we boil it down and say if I knew somebody in my county was going to die today might not know him. But if I wore a mask today, it would prevent that from happening. I certainly hope everybody in this commonwealth would put on that mask. Well, that's what we face. That's the question every single morning. And I hope I pray people who haven't gotten the vaccine that something will touch their heart and they will get it and for everybody else or stop the silly arguments and do something that public health has been doing for decades. Why to prevent the spread of infection, which is exactly what we're facing. We've shown a lot of videos about our struggling hospitals and and we're gonna talk about some of those today. Um, we've had a lot in the east. Some of the hardest hit are in the east, but we've been hit hard all across the commonwealth. So we're gonna start with the message on the importance of vaccines and you're going to see the exhaustion that has hit all of our people from dr rao. He is the general surgery doctor at baptist health Madisonville. My name is Mohan Rao. I have been a general surgeon in West Kentucky, specifically Madisonville for 35 years. I have had the privilege to take care of the people of West Kentucky and Hopkins County in particular. And I have truly enjoyed being a doctor in this part of the state period. The last couple of years have been very difficult last year was extremely difficult. Taking care of patients with Covid, We learned a lot because we've never seen anything like this before. I thought last year that we had seen the worst of it, especially with the introduction of vaccines and once we all got vaccinated, I thought that a lot of this would go away. Unfortunately, it's come back and it's come back. Uh huh. Pretty ugly. Let's come back With a vengeance. And I'm not going to tell you that getting vaccinated is going to keep you from getting sick 100% of the time. What I am going to say is that as somebody who believes in individual liberties, which I do vaccinated and I did that for the protection of myself, for the protection of my family and for the protection of my patients. I strongly recommend that people get it to the nurses and the physicians and my fellow physicians and technicians and everybody. People who clean the floors, people who make our food, people who do everything. I thank everybody for their service. I'm getting tired of wearing this And I think everybody else's too. I'd like to go out to dinner and not have to eat outside even if it's in the ring. Um, I'd like my patients to get better. I'd like not to walk down into the ICU A 20 bed ICU and C 19 out of the 20 beds occupied by people on ventilators, some of them young people. Um, I'd like all that to go away. What we need is we need for everybody to kind of step up and help us out. the best way they know how and that's all we're asking. Um it's hard to come to work but not impossible, that's still a privilege to come here but it would be really nice to be able to do the things for people that I've been trained to do and try to help people the best way I know how and I think you can see and feel the emotion, the weariness and the trauma, trauma that our healthcare heroes have gone through. I said I'd like to Walk down to the Ido and Nazi 19 out of 20 of the beds filled with almost all of them on ventilators. Many young people. Next we're going to move to Henderson where dr Dennis Beck, interim chief administrative officer at deaconess Henderson Hospital which I stopped by just um the other day is going to give us an update on what they're seeing. Good morning. My name is Dennis Beck and I'm the interim chief administrative officer of deaconess Henderson Hospital and also a physician today, I want to give a status update on the current situation of our patients and our capacity here in Henderson Kentucky. The crisis is real. Our patient volumes are higher than they ever have been in any summer time period in the history of our hospital and our health system, we're working the problem, our heroes in our health care are flexing their adapting and they're improvising, working with each other to increase capacity increase throughput and at the same time maintain the top quality care that we're known for. What can you do? The most important thing is to encourage vaccination. If you know somebody, if you know people at your church at your schools who still are hesitant, helped them get informed, talk to them, listen to them, understand the concerns, but tell them and repeat to them over and over again that it's a real problem we're suffering with right now. Our capacities are high, patients are sick and patients are dying without need. We want to thank Governor Beshear for visiting our hospital yesterday. It really lifted up the spirits of all of our healthcare workers, everything from a flower bouquet to the proclamation and the time spent visiting and talking to our front line healthcare heroes. So let me remind everybody, please get vaccinated. Please engage in social distancing mask wearing, hang in there for the long haul because we're going to get through this together as a family like I know we can thank you very much. Yeah. And what do we here at Henderson? Patient volumes higher than they've ever been at that time of year in that hospital, patients are sick, patients are dying for no need and what you hear from every healthcare hero when asked what you can do for them get vaccinated. All right, Finally, we're gonna hear from Courtney fails. Um and uh and Courtney, I hope I pronounced your last name correctly and uh maybe follows and Shawn Kathleen both registered nurses at ST Elizabeth health care and northern Kentucky work right now has definitely picked up in the last few months when the numbers started rising again. You know, myself and my colleagues, we all, we kind of got nervous because we knew what it was like last fall when we had such a high level of patients and we were already trying to recuperate from all the stress we had been going through with that. I just felt like you could never catch up. There was just a surplus of patients coming in that were very sick. We had an entire nursing home come in at one time now with the delta variant. Those numbers are picking back up again. So we're really trying to work towards lowering them back to a level that's more manageable. There's a lot of factors, hospitals are being filled all over the country. I would say most of our patients right now are unvaccinated folks, patients that we've had that have been vaccinated, they've been admitted for maybe a day just for observation and have been discharged within a day or two, not nearly as sick as the folks that are unvaccinated. There's been several that I had very great relationships with that did not make it through and I was one of the last people that they saw and had a conversation with and that sticks with you. It's very hard. It is definitely exhausting to see more and more patients come in um that are unvaccinated and that are really struggling. We have to work twice as hard. It takes more staff. It takes more bodies to keep these patients table. It just makes me really want people to get vaccinated because a lot of the people that I see right now struggling are the ones that have not gotten the vaccine. Please consider if vaccination is on your mind, do it. Getting vaccinated as the number one priority right now and that's what's gonna be our shield to not only help yourselves but help others. We were called heroes a year ago and a lot of the Times Heroes do things that they don't want to do, but it's for the greater good. Well, thank you to Sean and Courtney saying Elizabeth for that. You know Sean talking about how it sticks with you. That's, that's the trauma that our folks are going through. And again, I don't have to go through the amount of trauma that they're experiencing at the moment. If you get vaccinated As they reported our hospitals have been hit and hit very hard as of today, one third of all of our hospitals across Kentucky, 32 of 96 are reporting critical staffing shortages folks. That is a big problem. It's uh hospitals that are treating patients much sicker than they normally treat that have people on ventilators even though they don't have and I see you because there is no place to take them or there is no group that can transport them. Um uh Ohio County Hospital has had to expand their emergency department to handle the significant increase in covid patients. Taylor regional Campbellsville had four ventilated patients within five hours and had to place two more on ventilators right after that. Think about it. That doesn't happen in that hospital caldwell County Hospital um have patients in emergency rooms for three days on a ventilator. Unable to transfer. There's no I see us in that hospital. Monroe County hospital. Two ventilated patients in the er unable to transfer. No I see us there. Um Jackson purchased 10 patients in the emergency department uh waiting, waiting to try to get moved to a a higher acuity uh bed and and the hospitals that we have mentioned before that have hit so hard been hit so hard ST clair in disaster mode. I'm not sure that's ever happened in Kentucky. But a hospital has gone into disaster mode at least. I can't remember it. Pikeville Medical with tents up outside the hospital so they can triage people as they come in. Eat for Mcdonald. Remember that testimonial from that nurse last week having lost seven patients over a weekend and not having enough more space for them. What is that does that do to you not just to live through but to actually watch that space be overtaken. Um It is a very difficult and dangerous situation and for those that needed to personally impact them. If you don't know somebody who's in the er in the hospital with covid first of all you will but second if you're in a car accident today in most regions of the state it's gonna be a lot harder to get the help that you need or God help us your family. This is something we've all got to do if you don't want to get vaccinated for any other reason. How about so the E. R. Can help you out or your family out if you're the next person in that car wreck. Now we are actively working as our hospitals to try to increase capacity out there. Let me say hospitals converting space. Uh ST Clair's converted numerous O. R. S. To covid wings, different groups trying to expand their uh I see us we are working with folks to make sure they have enough ventilators because the ventilator usage has popped up faster and more than we've ever seen. But we do believe that we are going to have enough, we just got to get them to the places that need them. So we're taking at least three efforts right now to increase our our health care capacity. And I want to I want to just briefly go over there. Those we have uh seven uh Strike teams of the National Guard. We're gonna hear from the guard on other efforts today. Um But but these are strike teams that are going to be deployed september 1st I believe they're going to be at, oh it's between three and five hospitals helping to do anything and everything that frees up the medical staff at those hospitals to to serve more patients and more boards. We've requested fema. Strike teams for understaffed hospitals. Remember there were two parts of that request. Number one nurse strike teams were awaiting a decision on that. The second was we needed additional E. M. S. Strike team's not having enough ambulance ambulances and emergency uh personnel first responders to transfer people between hospitals when they needed to or to run regular emergency runs around counties because people are either out with covid or there are that many people who are really sick and need help. So today we did get noticed uh from fema and we are grateful that they are sending us the E. M. S. Strike teams believe they'll arrive friday in Lexington. They'll be here for 30 days And it is 30 personnel with 15 ambulance vehicles. That is going to be a big help. We still need those nurse strike teams um admittedly so do a lot of other states. So do a lot of other states. Uh but we are grateful for this extra help. We will take every single person um every single bit of help that we can get. And then the last piece And this is something we actually came up with over the last 36 hours. I've been talking to a number of of hospital ceos and saying, tell me your challenges. And then I got to tell me your frustrations and what they told me to person was our our emergency rooms are overwhelmed And we've got people that show up there just to get a covid test. Now, sometimes they're worried, sometimes they've been exposed and you need a covid test for that. Sometimes their kids going to play in a baseball tournament the next weekend and you need a covid test for that. While the emergency room is not the place to go for a covid test. Right? If you're not sick, don't go there. The reality is that people are and that takes uh, staff away from these hospitals that could otherwise be directly helping patients. So with several hard hit hospitals, um, through contracts, we are going to take over the testing at that hospital, locate at or next to it. Um, uh, do all of those tests for the folks that are coming in and thus free up extra capacity the people from the hospital that are doing the testing right now can serve patients. So let's look at new covid 19 community test sites. These are some of our hardest hit hospitals, we believe beginning this friday this friday. So we moved fast, we briefed the legislature on this, we're gonna be able to use cares act money for it. It's just necessary because we're in an emergency situation. We're gonna be at Corbyn Wild Health is gonna help us with that. They're gonna be able to take over testing there. That's baptist health Corbin Pikeville Medical Center where they have the triage tents outside. We hope and pray this frees up some extra people heard from their ceo today. They are expanding their covid um capacity units for the third straight time and their staff is getting hit by it too because if you have that much covid in the building, you're gonna see that happen. Morehead ST clair. Probably nobody hit harder. Um And then um in in danville separately gravity diagnostics. One of our other partners remember our original testing partner, this is how we built out testing in Kentucky. This was the first group that was there to truly help us. We went from not having a test to having a state lab that could run a few to scaling up with this company. This is one of the heroes um of this pandemic uh they're gonna be helping us in Danville. This is to help out Ephraim McDowell. Um and what they've been through if this works and if we have the money and the buy in this is something that we may look at expanding further. So we are going to continue to try to be creative. Listen, I get that there's some policy calls I can't make. But if I've got the ability um to help out any hospital have one extra person for one extra bed that might be your family member. And we're gonna keep working on it. Um Masking as you all know. Um I put in uh in order and thankfully the Kentucky Department of Education followed with an emergency regulation requiring masking in our public schools and our daycares. It's something the C. D. C. Says you absolutely have to do or you won't succeed in. A lot of people will get. Covid it is what the state Department of Public Health says you have to do or it won't work and a lot of people will get covid it's what the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce says we have to do. Or a whole lot of kids will be quarantined and their parents can't come to work and we won't be able to fill out a shift and it's exactly what we've seen in our schools. Um I'd take uh warren county public schools and I know they probably don't like to keep talking about him that came in doing it wrong. Masking optional. Got up to about 1414 100 more than J. C. P. S. People quarantined then they turned around and did it right and listen that's a good thing. Um We're proud of them and making that decision. They cut it in half in two weeks. Masking in schools. Works not masking in schools does not there's already research on it. I talked about this a little bit last time and we didn't have this up. This is school level modelling results for north Carolina. This is something that N. C. State university with another university did and that the CDC has reviewed two huge findings. Number one you don't universal mask in your schools. They're modeling shows that 90% of the kids are going to get infected by the end of just a semester. I'm a parent with a vaccinated and an unvaccinated child. I pulled out of an event this morning because I have an unvaccinated child and this thing is burning, burning through the state with this result. Yeah you absolutely have to recognize that sending our kids into classrooms without masks means they're going to get covid or they're gonna be darn lucky if they don't and masks work. People tell you that mass don't work. That is misinformation that kills people and mainly just give somebody an excuse because they don't like doing it. We all do a lot of things we don't like doing. It protects you, it protects the people around you. You have to wear seat belt in the car. You have to have car insurance, you can't drink and drive. You know you could argue that those are our limitations on your liberty. But guess what? They protect you and they protect other people and we all do them. This is not a debate. It is a fact that we've got to mask our kids in school or we will see bad results. You know, that decision on broader masking. I'm asking throughout the commonwealth is now one that's going to be left to the legislature. But yesterday, having the third highest number of cases we've ever had and having More than 65 people die, That would have been the trigger for me if it was in my authority to have put in a masking order for indoors across the state every other time we've been this high, we've done that and it's worked. It has decreased the number of cases. I can't do that now and I get that and I'll provide all the information that I can to the general assembly and hopefully they will make the best choice that they can and I can't comment on what their choice will be. We need to get them the information and then they can ultimately debate that. But I'm begging you out there. Put on that mask. Put on that mask. You wore it when we were here before and you're still here and so are most of the people around you. We desperately need for you to do it again. Alright, let's quickly go through some of our charts. We did this on Monday. Um, Kentucky, COVID-19 cases by not that one yet weak. Um, we are going to exceed last week. It is a precipitous rise. We are getting very close to exponential growth. Um that's really bad. What we're looking at is philadelphia and not ST louis positivity. Yeah. Go to go to the positivity again. Just as tough. Let's look at vaccination status actually this has bounced around a little bit. But compared to last week vaccinated individuals are doing better Than what we had seen. We have seen more breakthroughs last week by these percentages. Just just look at them, 90% of all cases And hospitalizations are among unvaccinated individuals. nine out of 10. It tells you how powerful These vaccines are. Let's look at the rate of COVID-19 cases and vaccinations. This is how much a vaccine protects you. If there's that much more covid out there. If it's more aggressive. Yes, they're going to be some breakthrough cases. But look at the difference the delta. If you will between the um what color is that? Is that great? I can ask one question to you all. Great. Um The difference between the delta between the gray and the blue is how much better protected. You are vaccinated versus unvaccinated. Look at that. You are still as protected. You may be more protected. You all can do the division now than ever before. But if you also look at that size it shows you how much more infection there is out there now than ever before. Uh It should tell you that if you don't get the vaccine you're going to get really, really sick And we do not want that to happen. Inpatient census continues to go up. That looks like exponential growth that's why are hospitals are bursting at the seams intensive care units Continue to go up exponential growth ventilator census in this one. Okay go back one go back to the I. C. U. I'm gonna use this to to just show you why the ventilator is so concerning. Um And the rate of its growth because those are those are people who may not make it. Um You can see how there is a peak earlier on. You know that's that december time frame in in the I. C. U. S. Right? And that peak now move it for the ICUs. Let's go to the ventilators in many ways was more pronounced um here and and where we are now ventilators versus where we were. And the worst before is more severe possibly than any other statistic. Even though the numbers are lower. So what all that means because we got to do better. And we also have to lift up those that are in the hospital dealing with this devastation. We've seen their exhaustion, we've seen their trauma. So it's it's it's not just those that are regularly in hospital that have fought this so hard and that our healthcare heroes during healthcare hero appreciation week. We also have our Kentucky National Guard and all the wonderful work that they have done To help protect us during this. We've been talking throughout the pandemic about how the Kentucky National Guard has been an incredible partner supporting our COVID-19 response across the Commonwealth in honor of healthcare heroes appreciation week. We're getting a chance to not only recognize some of our heroes in the medical field but also those that serve in uniform and many of them also served in the medical field with as much as we've asked. Both are medical professionals And our guard over the last 18 months, I can only imagine how hard these folks must have worked since March of 2020. We've called on the National Guard to do a variety of jobs across the commonwealth to help combat covid 19 in particular our military medical professionals have helped with drive through testing services, mass vaccination centers, mobile vaccination teams providing support to long term health facilities when they're in crisis and local health departments as well as setting up and completely staffing our alternate care facility at the Louisville Fair and Expo center last summer. Since the vaccine was pushed out, our medical guardsmen have distributed approximately 10,000 vaccinations among both the general public and our department of defense personnel here in the Commonwealth at this time, I'd like to recognize some of our guardsmen who also served in the medical community. So if our air guardsmen will come forward. I think first we have a major Angela hemler, a registered nurse practitioner who works full time for the National Guard. Then we have First Lieutenant Natasha Perry, also a registered nurse for our Norton healthcare system. And then we have senior master sergeant paul. Is it? Vote paul, vote Air Force medic and a cardiopulmonary technician at UK hospital. If our army guardsmen uh well come forward um to to be recognised. Thank you all great uh Colonel Christopher Hell, who is also a P. A. For the Lexington V. A. Hospital. Thank you for that work. Captain T. J. Maxx a position assistant for Eastern State Hospital. Thank you for that work. And Sergeant Alicia Schultz, an army medic. And I see you technician for saint joe Healthcare system. Thank you. Thank you for all your work. My goodness, thank you for stepping up every single time we need you help you know this commonwealth loves you and appreciate your service. Thank you at this time. Colonel Chris how will fill us in on how they plan to support the state this fall as we dig into fighting this delta variant running rampant through our communities. Thank you Governor for sure, appreciate that introduction. All that valuable information that you've bestowed upon us appreciate that Over the course of this pandemic, the soldiers in the airmen of the Kentucky National Guard have been instrumental in the fight against covid in supporting the commonwealth and the health and well being of its citizens. I believe that Kentucky Citizen soldiers have never been such an instrument of change in an instrument to prevent the illness and the loss of life throughout this state Since the formation of the Kentucky National Guard in 1912. Since january, I have played a small part in a dynamic team that has brought the fight to this pandemic. These past eight months have been particularly rewarding working with and for our fellow Kentucky ins, Even after almost 34 years of service, I continue to be impressed every day with the intelligence, the compassion that spread to core that these teams have. However, the previous and the future success of these teams are directly related to the support and the understanding of their employers here today that you saw earlier is just a small percentage of military individuals that have been on these teams. They have, they came in, they engaged, they made positive impacts throughout the communities. Now they're back in their own private practices. They're back in their own hospitals. So all of these employers that have uh accommodated the Kentucky National Guard. I want to personally thank those uh, those employers, especially for the teams that, that uh, we're here today. As you heard the V. A Medical center in Lexington. I worked there. I love, I love working there. UK Hospital, Eastern State Hospital ST joseph's Hospital in North Hospital. Thank you very much for your support in allowing and giving us the best that you have to date the guards support to the commonwealth as a combat covid has included mobile vaccination teams as, as a governor mentioned who, who have visited 79 communities in 14 counties throughout the state and have administered 3100 vaccinations in, in these communities. In these mostly remote communities. They participated in mass covid testing and vaccination sites, assisted in long term health care facilities in local health departments. They partook in collection and distribution of 6,448 tons of food and supplies. Also with other agencies like the Hope Center in Lexington and three other organizations in northern Kentucky in Elizabethtown. They have delivered 100 and 4000 meals to those in Kentucky who need, who needed it at Boone National Guard center here in Frankfurt. The Window H four Regional Train Center in Greenville in the Air Wing in Louisville. The soldiers in the airmen and these teams have given over 6400 vaccinations, Two soldiers to airmen to retirees, dependence and diode contractors. I, most of what I have mentioned have tangible, have been tangible items and statistics. I believe the intangible aspects of what the soldiers and airmen have brought to the commonwealth is equally as important. The soldiers and airmen have brought compassion. They have brought respect and they're brought hope to those who need it moving forward. As a governor mentioned. Uh, the initial plan was to reduce the role of the military by September 30. However, as we all know with the uh, the delta variant and the amount that it is uh negatively impact in this state. We are going to be on orders until at least December 30. It's not beyond that. Um, during this time, uh, the teams will continue to do what I've mentioned earlier. However, we will have a larger impact in schools and universities. Uh, department of corrections were also, we have uh been notified and requested by hospitals throughout the state for administrative and logistical support. So that that is something that we hope dearly getting reaching out there and helping our fellow citizens. The beauty of the military is our ability to adapt and overcome. And we would do just that over the course of the next several months. In closing, I stand in front of you today as a man who grew up in the knobs and hollers of the rule in nelson County. I uh, I fished a knob creek. I hunted in the, in the woods close to Abraham Lincoln's birthplace. I am a, I'm a Kentucky boy through and through and uh, I am honored to serve our state as a medical provider and military officer. I want to thank governor bashir dr peck and general Lamberton for entrusting us these team members in the uh, in the care of the citizens of this beautiful state also wants to encourage those who have not been vaccinated to please get vaccinated please. It works. It's effective. Uh, and it saves, it will save your life and it will save your family's life. Were the mask social distance. We all know what to do. We have got to continue to uh follow the golden rule, treat others the way you want to be treated Within the Kentucky Army National Guard. There is a saying that's been passed down since the 1800s and that is fight as Kentucky ins as a unified front. Let us all fight as Kentucky is against code, maintain our respect for one another. Follow the golden rule and in this pandemic together. Thank you. Yeah. I'm gonna admit I made a mistake today. We should have started with the colonel. My goodness. I got a second wind pretty good at that thing now. Um thank you colonel. But also thank you to all of your people that I know stand with you and behind you. Um today, um we want you all to be recognized as one of our two team Kentucky all Stars uh that we try to recognize uh for their service again. We've called upon you more than probably any other governor has ever had to answer the call and do an incredible job each time. Uh, our other team Kentucky all stars today. Um, After 18 months of our war against COVID, our healthcare heroes, we know are tired. They're frustrated. They're fatigued, but they're working harder than ever in our hospitals are caring for patients, many of whom are younger and sicker than before. In our long term care facilities. They're caring for some of our most vulnerable patients in a setting where the virus can spread, especially quickly devastating these communities. These health care workers know firsthand maybe better than anyone that these vaccines work and that's why so many of them have rolled up their sleeves to protect themselves and their patients. Let's show the healthcare slide. Long term care slide. According to the most recent study from the c. d. c. s. National Safety Network. The facility shown here are reporting at least 90% of residents and 80% of staff fully vaccinated. That makes them for their specific local work team Kentucky all stars. And look at the transitional care center in Owens Burrow, 100% of their residents, 100% of their staff fully vaccinated. That's outstanding. We got a lot of all stars. But this is probably our scoring later. Um truly um a wonderful job. You look right behind them. The Episcopal Church Home in Louisville Willows at fritz Farm in Lexington. This really shows you that it's it's it's leadership, it's not location and a state facility and a state veterans facility which we are very proud of. The carl m brush here. Different veteran center in Radcliffe again, look at London, the laurel Heights Home and Louisa, the Jordan center um, and essex nursing and rehab folks. This shows us that the amount of individuals vaccinated in any organization or entity has to do with the strength of the leadership and how hard they work and how hard they push. So uh to these facilities. Thank you for your incredible work. People are safer because of you. Speaking of vaccines um, you know yesterday, like I said it was a tough day. We had 4800 covid cases And we had less than 4000 vaccinations during that day. First time I can remember um it was inverted in that way. Today. 6674 new vaccinations. We thank God for that. Now our number of Kentucky and at least one shot of hope 2,488,328 we will see as we move forward. Um if if we're truly in in a continuing uptick or whether we have increased, which is good. But then plateau again, if that means there are more people consistently getting it, that would be a good thing. But to fight the delta variant, we need a lot more than 6000 people being vaccinated each day. Let's remember we can defeat the deadliest thing we've ever seen. Going to the drugstore or the grocery store or your local health department or calling any of them. And I'm pretty positive they will come to you and getting vaccinated the means of victory are right in front of us and they're safe, fully FDA approved and half the country has already taken him. You know if there was a real issue with them. All right. So that's the first part of our team Kentucky update. It is the hard part. Now let's look at some hope. While this is a time of difficulty and tragedy, it is also a time of hope and promise. And it's really hard emotionally that both are going on at the same time. It's, it's really hard to process. But our economy is taking off in a phenomenal way and I think it's important for people to see and recognize that too because dealing with the variant means we can get to this prosperity faster. So let's start with thoroughbred aviation management yesterday. Rocky Atkins, my senior adviser here in the governor's office joined thoroughbred aviation maintenance to help cut the ribbon on the company's new consolidated headquarters at the blue grass airport in Lexington. The project will create 47 full time jobs over the next three years and improve the company's ability to service all inbound and departing commercial flights in Lexington thoroughbreds been growing since 1988 and it's great to see that growth is continuing uh, like to congratulate my friend Todd case um, on that one this morning, the opportunity to join James E Pepper distilling company and its owner mere pay to break ground on the distillers first barrel warehouse a $3 million investment in Midway. That activity and outdoor activity, appreciate them doing in a safe way because there are still safe ways that we can get together. Amir is breathing new life into this iconic brand. After 50 years off the market in 2017, he rebuilt this historic operation in Lexington's distillery district in today's groundbreaking shows. It is another step forward. Keep an aisle pepper products hitting the shelves um at least right now three uh different brands or, or bourbons. Uh at least the one uh we tasted today was delicious. Um Chapin international company growing at an amazing pace here in Kentucky last september we announced its first Kentucky facility in Mount vernon. But here we are less than a year later, even in the midst of the pandemic with the company moving forward with not one but two new projects in our state Chapin, which makes compressed air sprayers is adding 100 additional jobs in Rock Castle County, doubling the planned job creation. They're shaping is also locating a second Kentucky facility in Danville. Nearly, I'll grab it here in a second, A nearly 500,000 square foot facility that employ another 100 Kentucky ins as 200 New jobs with nearly $16.7 million dollars in new investment and shaping. Make sure that we could see their product today. We thought we'd get one that said team Kentucky but then we thought someone might object and file something on that one again. Never thought I'd be standing up here at the sprayer but it is a good sprayer made right here in Kentucky, supporting Kentucky jobs and from a guy who started work mucking stalls and then weed eating. Those prayers can be incredibly helpful. Bigelow tea, what do you all have this at home? Next up is bigelow tea which is relocating and expanding in Jefferson town. This $53 million 31 quality jobs in Jefferson County and helping grow our state's food, beverage and agri tech sector. Bigelow is operated in jefferson town for nearly three decades. I'll admit I didn't know that I've had their t and I didn't know that this is a Kentucky company. Construction on the new facility on blank and baker road is scheduled to begin this coming spring. And I look forward to the facility opening in summer 2024. I always drink tea, but when I do it's Bigelow tea and that's not the only great announcement in jefferson county today, affordable housing developer L. D. G. Multi family is growing its presence in Louisville with a $10.75 million investment that's going to create 50 high wage jobs at an average salary $49 an hour including benefits. It's our goal to create good paying jobs for all Kentucky ins and companies like this are helping to make that a reality. I'm also a fan of their philosophy. They say quote everyone deserves a quality place to live in that Kentucky place that we love our sense of home. It's a great message, a great foundation. We couldn't be happier to have this amazing company with this amazing culture growing. Finally again there's a lot of good news out there. It's just sometimes hard to see it in the midst of of the darkness. Uh in another step that moves Kentucky's automotive industry further into the electrified future. Toyota announced that it will assemble hydrogen fuel cell modules at its plant in Georgetown beginning this year. These hydrogen fuel cell modules will be available two heavy duty commercial truck makers allowing the big grid industry and a mission free option. Think about that biggest trucks on the road, a mission free uh something that will will make us not only uh more efficient but but what an amazing impact that will have positively on our environment. This is great news for Kentucky and it's a sure sign of more electric vehicle related manufacturing to come Remember, we announced 250 new jobs in Whitley County uh for Firestone uh in that same electric vehicle related market that's were at the center the U. S. Automotive manufacturing corridor. We provide a prime location to anyone and currently manufacturing or looking at the manufacturing of the future of either the batteries or the vehicles. We got 500 plus automotive facility statewide and a skilled workforce that's been doing this for generation after generation. We believe that we can make anybody out there and the automotive sector successful and team Kentucky would like to thank Toyota for continuing to invest in the future of automotive electrification as well as in Georgetown and as well as our Kentucky workforce, even with the challenges that we have faced, we have an economy that is on fire, more opportunity at higher wages. Uh, we've already surpassed last year uh, in both jobs created in total investment and I think we could double from where we are right now by the end of the year We're at the cusp of incredible prosperity, something we all deserve after the last 18 months, but we got to get there so on a bright future, you want better jobs, better wages be apart of industries of the future. Aerospace, agriculture, technology, electric vehicles, get your vaccine finally, um, we got a couple of major critical projects, we gotta get done across this commonwealth so that everybody has infrastructure that can allow for entire regions to open up three that come to mind are the Brent Spence bridge in northern Kentucky with the amount of GDP of the country that crosses it every day. The I 69 corridor, the bridge we need to build and we will build um uh, that, that will uh connect indiana to Kentucky right at Henderson and the mountain parkway expansion, It is absolutely critical that we get that thing four lanes from where it starts all the way to Preston Zberg and Rocky and I were proud to be in morgan county on Tuesday to celebrate another milestone in the expansion of that parkway, Eastern Kentucky is open for business. We're joined by transportation officials, uh, state legislators, I think we had john Blanton and Philip wheeler and local officials to celebrate the opening of eight miles of the parkway that's been widened to four lanes in morgan County and parts of Wolf and my golf in county expanding the mountain parkway is going to open up communities, two types of uh, manufacturing and other opportunities that always said we've got to have four lane road, but this stretch is also one of the most dangerous in Kentucky and it won't be any longer. I never forget that when we look at a road, it's not just economic development, it's not just progress, its safety, it's putting our kids in that car every day and wanting them to be on the safest roads possible. So we are going to continue our economic development efforts. Um, and Jim Gray has the biggest pair of scissors in that picture that I have ever seen. So with that we will open it up to questions. I know we've been running long, but we'll, we'll take the amount of time that it takes today. We got three members of the press in person, a number of others virtually. And let me say, I do appreciate, uh, the willingness to have fewer people in the room and more virtually. That's setting a really good example for what we need to see across the commonwealth and let me just talk about that example. We're in a tough place, we need to be wearing masks and we all need to think about our personal schedule. Um, I am not going to be at large indoor events uh, in the near future when things are this hot and I hope others will look at those big events coming up and figure out if they are indoors, how to make them safer, how to make them smaller, how to make them virtual, how to push them outside. It is it is that dangerous right now to where we need people to take that personal responsibility to make good decisions. And remember if they're unvaccinated people in your life, people aren't old enough to be vaccinated. Let you know that you love and that you care about. You got to make sure that you're doing as many right things as you can to protect them because if you're vaccinated, you can still get this delta variant and you can still spread it. So everybody, please be careful, make good decisions. I know I'll always put the safety of my family first tom latex Kentucky today. Thanks Governor. Uh in lieu of, as you call it hot and the recent Supreme Court decision, how close are you to putting something together that you can present to the general assembly and call a special session. So the majority leadership of the house and the Senate. I've met with both over the last couple of days. Uh we have presented them with all of the order steps procedures if you will, they're currently in place. Not that need to be in place, we'll have those conversations to so that they see what happens if the State of emergency is allowed to expire. So the Legislature's new job under their new legislation is to come in and and to extend The state of emergency or if they choose not to, all those steps go away and possibly fema funding. But we believe right now the president's order, all 50 states protects that. So right now they have in hand. Um, the whole list of of different things that we need, things like workers compensation for our front line workers if they get covid, my goodness, we got to provide that things like recognizing doctors licensed in other states so that we can help increase our health care capacity. Um, and and they're taking a close look at it and I do believe they're analyzing it. Um, I hope that we'll get the feedback soon that they're ready to go. But listen, there, there are those that think, you know, I should immediately call them in and say, here's the ball, good luck. And that's not right. Listen, we need to succeed in this thing and I've still got to carry it out once they've, once they've gotten in. So I'm trying to do this in a way because we've got some time before the State of emergency would expire because we got some time for the injunction goes away. Um, I'm trying to give us our best chance of success. And I always told everybody that to me this wasn't about wins and losses. It's about life and death. Guess what? I got to prove it and I am going to prove it. Austin Pollock. Uh, you know, one of the things that you've talked a good bit about is stop spreading misinformation. You see it on social media, some people say masks don't work. You see people say that you can still get Covid, which you still can't because you still can't. But aside from stop, you know, spreading misinformation, what else can people be told aside from just stop those spreading misinformation? Yeah. You know, I think those spreading misinformation as opposed to just me saying stop or to watch the videos or even talk to the individuals, these family members that have watched people pass away. Um Community members, coaches now, people that that they may or may not have known, but talk to those individuals uh talk to Ethan from one of our previous videos who said I believed it. I got into it. I even made the posts and and Ethan still isn't fully better. And and and barely survive. You know, if you're spreading misinformation that kills people. I think the very least that you can do is talk to some of the family members that have died because of it, look them in the eye and and tell them that Covid is not real. Um, you know, uh, it's amazing. I mean, it's it's it's amazing that people being willing to distort the truth or flat out lie on facebook can cause so much, so much damage. And then it ended admittedly is so hard to combat. You know, and it's it's just, I mean, talk to talk to you. I hope they talk to their their ministers whether what they're doing is right because it's not, it's not being a brother and sister's keeper or living by that golden rule. But if if any of us had the silver bullet on battling misinformation, we'd all, we'd all do it. I know glass um, governors. So when you talk about hospitalizations, those numbers, they don't look like they're getting any better. When you talk about bringing out the National Guard, what are you hoping comes of that? So the National Guard originally there'll be seven teams. We may staff up to 14 teams. What they're gonna do is go into the hospital and try to take over any non medical function that frees up medical personnel and or fill in when, when uh, folks are sick with Covid and out. I mean if you don't have food service, then people don't survive. Um, in the hospital. You know, our guard units are uh creative. Um, they adapt what we heard and I know they're going to be a big help in the hospitals that they are going to are overjoyed. I got a text from Pikeville Medical and they are um thrilled even though they are overwhelmed. Um You could see when we talked to uh ST clair the other day uh gave them hope you had to uh doctor and a nurse who are hurting because of where they are and they high five in the midst of of talking about all that hurt between that and trying to take over the testing. We hope that that that creates more capacity because we're not worried about the number of physical beds. We have more physical beds than we can staff and so on any given day when we look at how many ICUs do we have, how many people showed up to work that day? How many are quarantined? How many of them have the skills and the training uh And it's not just in in our bigger hospitals, it's also our smaller hospitals that are treating sicker patients than they've ever treated before. You know we have some of these regional hospitals that they help, they stabilize people and if they're really hurt they get them out and they can't get them out now. I mean think about people on ventilators in a place that doesn't have an I. C. U. Um So our hope is to free up as much capacity as we can. Um And I do think it will help but it's not going to fix the issue vaccinations is the only thing that will and guard their own call until at least december. Are you anticipating wait, we get worse. Doing what? Right, that's right. Can that be So the National Guard will will be on until December 30? Because that's as long as federal funding has been extended right now. So that's that's really what that that date is. We will see now when we look back about philadelphia versus ST louis, remember it went up and up and up and up and up really fast in philadelphia but then it burns so hot it came back down and so we really have to watch this as it goes. No one's seen the peak yet. We thought we had in florida, we thought it was slowing down and then it spread back up again. So well, I'm frightening things is we don't know how high that goes. Stew johnson from W. E. K. U. Mhm. Yes. Thank you Governor. Um you mentioned earlier in your brief that the film was your call, you would have the indoor masking put in place right now is the only way that indoor masking could be made mandatory would be by a vote of the General Assembly. Yes, that is my belief uh that it would take a vote of the General assembly and certainly with what the law is now um for for and I'm not talking about schools. I'm talking about the the the overall requirement that people wear masks. Yes. Uh, would take a vote of the, of the General assembly, I don't have the authority to do that now without them. Sarah lad, The Courier Journal. Yes. Thank you. Um, are you aware of any Kentucky hospitals that for whatever reason staffing shortages or an increase of patients have had to keep covid positive staff or staff who otherwise should be in quarantine on floors working or hospitals that are facing that possibility soon. Thanks. Uh, Sarah, I am not aware of any that doesn't mean it may or may not have happened. What I hear about more is staffing shortages due to to um covid exposure and that that is increasing. And you got to thank the more covid patients in a hospital, just the more potential infection and thus the place where the staff is needed the most is the most likely place where you lose staff because of, of infection, breakthrough or otherwise. But I'm not personally aware of any group having to do that yet, josh James, W. Ky, Okay, we'll come back to to josh kelly Dean WBK L highlight Governor. So a local lawmaker told me this morning that people who are from rural areas like Edmonson County. Now if they go to war in county for a vaccine, they ultimately get counted into that warren counties vaccination rate. So are the vaccination rates inaccurate or should we rely more on the state's overall vaccine rates. So, so when you go to get vaccinated, you fill out that form and I think it ultimately breaks down by zip code. Uh, so if you put down your zip code and your county of uh, not a fortune where you live, um then it gets counted in there. There are a couple of places uh, where a zip code is in multiple counties and their their overall percentage maybe off some, it wouldn't be off a ton. Spencer County is one of those. Um, there is a zip code there and I believe the people in that zip code who get vaccinated, who might live in Spencer county have been counted in another county because right now we don't have the ability to parse it out, but I know they're working on it, that's a, a federal issue. Um, christian county, which is one of the lowest um in the state, uh, doesn't include folks at Fort Campbell that have been vaccinated because they don't give us that information. So the data is by no means perfect. Um, but it's not going to be off by that much either. You know, uh, County is not gonna be 70% without having a ton of people vaccinated same way. It's not going to be a 20 without the large majority of people not being vaccinated, um, Jose Neil Donna's from Aldea? Thank you Governor. How successful do you think has been the shot at a million campaign? And what other initiatives are measures are being contemplating in the next six months to encourage people to get vaccinated. So tomorrow um we're gonna unveil our last millionaire um in the shot at a million contests as well as five additional kids who win that golden ticket to a free higher education. We believe it has been successful. But let me explain what I think that it did. Um we were uh drastically seeing our our vaccinations fall and the rate was precipitous. Um almost straight down, if you think about those line charts when we announced shot at a million, it's stabilized right? Otherwise we believe fewer and fewer and fewer people would. So did it increase vaccinations? Well, if you compare to where the modelling suggested or or or the lines suggested where it would have gone um then yes, but what I would say is it stabilized? It got us to a place that was nearly enough. But at least it was a steady amount of people getting vaccinated. It it never went to zero. In fact, it was always in the thousands. What I think we're seeing is it takes something like the severity of the delta variant uh to increase vaccinations. It takes um requirements from employers. That's absolutely increasing vaccinations out there. I hope that full FDA approval for Pfizer um help some that are skeptical but not you know politically opposed. If you will uh to get it, we are doing some other things. Look at the state fair, if you go get vaccinated there, um, you can get a $30 wristband to ride any ride that you want. $20 gift card if you're wellcare member, $100 gift card. Just about all of our Medicaid managed care companies are offering $100 or more to individuals to get vaccinated. Kentucky. Tourism has drawings right now. If you get vaccinated for all types of things, including a staycation, a ton of golf, a ton of their wonderful experiences. Lodging, campground stays at Kentucky state parks. We've offered a free day off. Um, payday off. I guess that's the way you would, you would say it for all of our state employees if they will get vaccinated. We did uh, sporting events where you get a free ticket. Um, uh, we appreciate um, those two soccer organizations uh in Louisville, um maybe uh Louisville racing fc. Um as well as um, there uh, connected team which and then and then local health departments have been doing all types of things. Frankfurt Health department did come in to get a vaccine. They had a huge amount of pizza and they just hand you one and and anything else that they can do. Uh Well, we continue to try to use trusted messengers. Um, that's Ethan remember talking about how he wished he'd gotten vaccinated and how he'd been skeptical Britney and I got vaccinated in the rotunda with, with other lots of other people. We had all those faith leaders come through. We've been hosting vaccine clinics, um, at churches, at community centers, in disadvantaged areas. Now, pizzas and the rest. We need to figure out new strategies. No question. And we're all looking for any and every thing we can do. Uh, the other thing that we have to do is reuse some of these strategies when booster shots, third shots, let me say become available. So right now, anybody who's immuno compromised can go in and get a booster shot. Uh, and all of our nursing homes, the individuals are going to get them. That's different than if you're not immune, a compromise. Like make, Um, you can get your third shot starting September 20, eight months after your second shot. And we're going to know when your second shot was. So it has to be eight months after. We're gonna have to make sure that all those things that we were able to successfully turn people out, especially in difficult to reach communities to get shot one and two. We do four shot three. But really important when we talk about it to always make sure we're talking about there being a difference for immuno compromised people who can go get it right now. Um, and those that are going to get it in the regular course, just like everybody else melissa Patrick Kentucky health news. Hi Governor. Is it a blanket department of public health order to allow COVID-19 positive staff without symptoms to work on COVID units. Or do hospitals have to make that request from the Department of Public Health? And do you have any idea how many hospitals have simply made that request to have that policy put in place for their hospital if that's the case. So melissa, we don't have dr stack today, but I will we will get you that directly from him. I want to make sure we get it accurately. Um I have not seen a request but I'm not sure I would necessarily see that request. I mean, this is is what dr stack does and does so well. So we will get you accurate information on that just as quickly as we can jess clark from W. F. P. L. Hello, Governor. Um So you say the legislature voting legislature is the only way that we can create a statewide indoor mask mandate. But what's stopping you from issuing a 30 day indoor mask mandate under the Supreme Court ruling? Um You know, I think the ruling says that you can Uh you know, issue or the law says you can issue a mandate for 30 days. What's stopping you from doing that. And then by the same token uh you know, what's stopping the department from public health from issuing, it's a state wide band aid. So what the law says is I can declare a state of emergency that can last for 30 days. Um and at that point and I can do certain things in that. Um But at that point, I've got to call the legislature in what those laws also say is the State of Emergency for Covid that's currently in place applies to any variant that comes there after. And that has already been in place more than 30 days and it expires um whenever the franklin circuit Court injunction Um expires. So I don't get to to say I'm gonna do another 30 days or a new 30 days or any order uh for 30 days. It's it's all dependent on the state of emergency. That's what starts it, that's what triggers the power. And that's what the Supreme Court even talked about when it expired because while the injunction is keeping in place for the moment, it has to be dissolved Here shortly. And the Supreme Court even talked about the date which is now in the past that the that the state of emergency uh expired. So listen, I had um or or M granted uh the authority to do it for 30 days. It's it's just it's just necessary right now. And we have far too many really big gatherings of people not wearing masks um that we need to do so much better and it shouldn't take in order on masks to to to get people to to follow the rules and wear them. But when we do, when that order comes out, more people wear them, they just happens, right? And so I know some people push back but more people wear them and so they're not perfect. But they certainly help joe Ragusa from spectrum. Hi governor. So I want to ask about the nature of the emergency declaration and franklin circuit courts. I believe there was a court hearing today where you and uh lawyers for the GOP asked for another 10 days To kind of negotiate a plan, I want to verify with you. Where does the emergency order kind of stand in Franklin Circuit Court in light of today's hearing and also that 10 days do you, do you feel like that's enough time to negotiate a plan that you guys can agree on and go to a special session with. So the emergency uh the State of Emergency is still in effect because leaders of the legislature, um, and I agree that there ought to be enough time. So these things we need don't expire for them to try to come to a consensus for what they're willing to do. And by the way, I think that was a really responsible decision by them that could have chosen to do something else. And that gives me hope about decisions coming out. I think that was the first tough one where it might not please everybody out there, but it was the right one we have. So, so there's a couple different clocks that run one is 20 days from the Supreme Court order. That that the decision doesn't take effect and and push down on the Franklin Circuit Court because that's the time that you can file for re hearing. Uh so that's that's that's what it takes for it to become final. And then the Supreme Court, then the franklin Circuit Court would have to dissolve the injunction which get rid of the State of emergency, which impacts about 100 different things we've put into place, most of which I don't think are controversial that help us fight uh this pandemic. So I think as long as we're working together and everybody agrees that they want at least the status quo that's going on right now to stay that we may have a little more time uh than just 10 days. But I think judge Shepherd wants to know that we are working uh and we are working, we're trying to figure out what type of information uh daily that they want. We've shown different reports, we've walked through them and I believe that both the House and the Senate are are actively looking at it. All right. We went really, really long today. I don't remember the last time we did thank you to our National Guard who even stuck it out all the way through the end, which you all always do finish strong. Uh Thank you to uh everybody from these hospital systems that are willing to be raw emotional and share what you're going through. Uh we're at an unprecedented time, time that we've never seen before, at a time that could be the most difficult and devastating. In the course of this pandemic, we can win, we can win tomorrow. We need you to get vaccinated. We'll get through this, we'll get through this together and we'll give you another update on monday. Mhm.

‘Uncharted territory’: One-third of Kentucky hospitals report critical staffing shortages

One-third of Kentucky's hospitals are reporting critical staffing shortages. That's according to Gov. Andy Beshear, who said Thursday that Kentucky is seeing record numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, overwhelming doctors and nurses and afflicting more children."As horrible as last year’s surge was, we were never in a position where doctors had to choose between treating a patient because of COVID-19 and treating a patient bleeding out because of a car accident," the governor said. "That’s the strain our hospitals are currently under"Intensive care units are packed with patients extremely ill from the virus, the governor said, and the state's positivity rate is at an all-time high of 13.16%.The surge is largely fueled by the highly contagious delta variant among people who are unvaccinated. In areas where vaccination rates are particularly low, doctors have pleaded with their communities to get inoculated to spare overburdened hospitals.The governor called it "uncharted territory," saying the state has never found itself extremely short-handed in the fight against the virus — 32 of the state's 96 hospitals are reporting critical staffing shortages. In those hospitals, ventilator usage is going up "faster and more than we've ever seen," the governor said. Additionally, the governor sounded the alarm about the growing toll of the variant on children and young adults.On Wednesday, Kentucky announced 65 new virus deaths and 4,849 additional cases, which he said was the third-highest daily case report since the pandemic began. Of those cases, 1,518 were among children.Beshear said Thursday that those stats alone would have led him to declare a statewide mask mandate, effective this week. However, that decision is now up to the legislature after a Supreme Court decision that reins in the governor's emergency powers. "We will see significant death moving forward, but we can do something about it," Beshear said earlier this week, encouraging Kentuckians to get vaccinated.

One-third of Kentucky's hospitals are reporting critical staffing shortages.

That's according to Gov. Andy Beshear, who said Thursday that Kentucky is seeing record numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, overwhelming doctors and nurses and afflicting more children.

"As horrible as last year’s surge was, we were never in a position where doctors had to choose between treating a patient because of COVID-19 and treating a patient bleeding out because of a car accident," the governor said. "That’s the strain our hospitals are currently under"

Intensive care units are packed with patients extremely ill from the virus, the governor said, and the state's positivity rate is at an all-time high of 13.16%.

The surge is largely fueled by the highly contagious delta variant among people who are unvaccinated. In areas where vaccination rates are particularly low, doctors have pleaded with their communities to get inoculated to spare overburdened hospitals.

The governor called it "uncharted territory," saying the state has never found itself extremely short-handed in the fight against the virus — 32 of the state's 96 hospitals are reporting critical staffing shortages.

In those hospitals, ventilator usage is going up "faster and more than we've ever seen," the governor said. Additionally, the governor sounded the alarm about the growing toll of the variant on children and young adults.

On Wednesday, Kentucky announced 65 new virus deaths and 4,849 additional cases, which he said was the third-highest daily case report since the pandemic began. Of those cases, 1,518 were among children.

Beshear said Thursday that those stats alone would have led him to declare a statewide mask mandate, effective this week. However, that decision is now up to the legislature after a Supreme Court decision that reins in the governor's emergency powers.

"We will see significant death moving forward, but we can do something about it," Beshear said earlier this week, encouraging Kentuckians to get vaccinated.

Source link

Show More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button