Ky. Sees Highest Rate Of COVID-19 ICU Patients

As of August 18, there have been more people in the ICU with COVID-19 in Kentucky than at any other time during the pandemic.

As numbers still surge due to the delta variant, hospitals in the state are approaching capacity.

\”The Medical Center at Bowling Green is at capacity. The critical care units are full. We're not able to accept patients from outlying facilities that we usually take and need our help,\” said Katrina Wood, interim chief nursing officer at Med Health Center.

At Thursday's Team Kentucky update, other healthcare workers from across the state told similar stories of the hospitals filling up with COVID-19 patients.

The Appalachian Regional Healthcare Command Center helps hospitals connect patients who require more intensive treatment with facilities in the region that can provide that level of care.

\”The hospitals that we usually call when patients require a higher-level of care are now calling us searching for beds,\” said Trish Smith, director from the center.

At Baptist Health Hardin in Elizabethtown, 18 out of 20 ICU beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients.

\”We're using high flow oxygen and ventilators for a price we've never really seen before only at that hospital,\” chief medical officer at Baptist Health Hardin Dr. John Godfrey said.

Along with increasing patient numbers, staff shortages are causing even more stress on health facilities.

The quantity of open beds open at a multitude of locations does not accurately reflect the quantity of beds that can be staffed.

\”Many in our staff are quarantined from COVID exposure, some have retired, some have resigned and left healthcare entirely,\” the main nursing officer at Baptist Health Hardin, Sharon Wright, said.

The issue of staff shortage is a problem for various business sectors but posed a sizable concern for that health sector in particular because when hospitals reach capacity from COVID-19 patients, others seeking medical care exhaust options.

The Kentucky Association of Healthcare Facilities issued a statement Thursday in reaction to President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate for staff at nursing homes receiving Medicaid or Medicare benefits.

They expressed concern for the way the mandate may affect the already small staff in some facilities.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced that the state is going to be monitoring available staffed hospital beds in the commonwealth starting next week. Numbers about COVID-19 in Kentucky are available around the Team Kentucky resource page.

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