Kentucky: Record numbers of COVID patients in hospitals

Governor Andy Beshear
Posted at 6:29 PM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 19:06:54-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky was hit Monday with record numbers of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and intensive care units as the fast-spreading delta variant drives up cases, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.

More than 20 Kentucky hospitals are facing critical staffing shortages, and some hospitals are converting space to treat the influx of ICU patients, the governor said.

“Our hospitalizations have been doubling just about every two weeks,” Beshear said at a news conference. “And folks, that means we are getting really close to every single bed across the entire commonwealth that we can staff being full.”

Beshear announced nearly 2,600 new virus cases and 17 more virus-related deaths in Kentucky. More than 1,890 virus patients were hospitalized in Kentucky, including 529 in intensive care units, he said. A record 301 Kentucky virus patients were on ventilators.

The surge in cases and hospitalizations comes as the Republican-dominated legislature assumes more control over Kentucky’s COVID policies. The state Supreme Court on Saturday cleared the way for laws limiting the governor’s emergency powers to take effect.

The governor wielded some of his authority Monday, announcing that National Guard personnel will provide assistance at some of the state’s beleaguered hospitals.

In one hopeful sign, nearly 32,000 Kentuckians were vaccinated against COVID-19 since Saturday, the governor said. Overall, 56% of the state’s population has received at least one vaccine dose.