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COVID-19 pushing Kentucky hospitals near high seen in fall

Governor Andy Beshear

Although Kentucky’s COVID-19 numbers may be starting to crest, hospitals are still struggling under the weight of the omicron surge.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health reported Monday more than 2,400 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID. Gov. Andy Beshear said during a weekly news conference that the numbers are very close to the high seen with the delta variant in fall, although ICU and ventilator numbers aren’t as high as they were then.

“Whether or not these people are very, very sick or just sick enough to be in the hospital, this means there aren’t enough beds for so many people that are harmed in other ways,” Beshear said.

And even though the cases are starting to show signs of decline – the positivity rate is now 28.49% compared with over 33% last week – hospitalizations typically lag behind.

The governor said about a third of hospitals in the state are currently reporting a critical staffing shortage, but he expects the true number is likely much larger.

“Some of them aren’t reporting it this time around because they know what we face, they know we’ve got to push through it and they know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “I think in all practicality, every hospital has a critical staffing shortage right now.”

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