Virus: Just 90 Adult Icu Beds Still Available In Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Just 90 adult intensive care beds are available in Kentucky as strained hospitals confront the surging delta variant of the virus, Gov. Andy Beshear reported Thursday.

He called that a record of the pandemic. Only 188 beds were available Tuesday.

“Our hospital situation has never been more dire in my lifetime than it is right now,” Beshear said, at a virtual news briefing. “That means, if you get COVID and need to be hospitalized, there has never been a greater likelihood that there’s not a bed for you or your family members, or your friends.”

Sixty of 96 Kentucky hospitals currently face a critical staffing shortage, the Democratic governor added. The limited number of ICU beds also will put those in non-virus related emergencies in danger of not receiving care, such as people in bad car accidents.

“It is continuing to tax our hospitals at record rates and the growth is not sustainable,” he said.

Kentucky National Guard teams will arrive over the next week at 21 strained hospitals in the state. Some 310 guard members will assist with nonclinical functions to allow hospital staff to focus on caring for patients.

More than 100 guard members are currently deployed to St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, Appalachian Regional Healthcare in Hazard, The Medical Center at Bowling Green and Pikeville Medical Center.

Kentucky reported 4,468 new coronavirus cases Thursday. All but three of Kentucky’s 120 counties are reported to be in the red zone — signaling a severe level of community spread.

The state's positivity rate was 14.16%, up from 13.29% last Thursday.

Approximately 70% of Kentucky adults have received at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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Hudspeth Blackburn is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.