Baptist Health Hardin

The spike in COVID-19 cases that’s creating renewed stress on health care systems across the nation is causing dangerous staffing shortages in hospitals across Kentucky.

In his press briefing Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear said there are at least 21 hospitals in Kentucky with a significant shortage of staff. 

One of the hospitals that took part in the briefing was Baptist Health Hardin in Elizabethtown.

“We are no different than any other facility in the state of Kentucky. We are facing staffing challenges amidst rising patient volumes," said Sharon Wright, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Baptist Health Hardin. "Many of our staff are quarantined from COVID exposure. Some have retired. Some have resigned and left health care entirely.”

Lisa Autry

Kentucky hospitals say they can’t keep up with demand for the COVID-19 vaccine.  A scarcity of supply has given hospitals thousands more appointments than they can accommodate. 

The Medical Center at Bowling Green has received more than 12,000 requests for appointments the hospital hasn’t been able to schedule because it hasn’t received enough vaccine. 

"I am so, so very pleased with the desire for vaccine coming that's coming from our community," said Dr. Melinda Joyce, Vice President of Corporate Support Services for Med Center Health. "It's fabulous we have this many people who want to get vaccinated, and that's what we've always wanted from the very beginning."

Baptist Health Hardin

Kentucky is now into phase 1-B of its COVID-19 vaccination plan, and that has triggered an overwhelming number of requests from people ages 70 and older who make up a large part of that priority group. 

Baptist Health Hardin, based in Elizabethtown,  serves 10 counties in central Kentucky. It's one of the healthcare providers that's been flooded with calls requesting a vaccination.

WKU Public Radio reporter Rhonda Miller talked with Steve White, assistant vice president of operations at Baptist Health Hardin, who says vaccinations are already scheduled into February.