Hospitalizations linked to virus drop in Kentucky


FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Highlighting a recent drop in coronavirus-related hospitalizations, Kentucky officials hope the new month will be much better than September, when the delta variant hit the state.

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 have declined on a moving average basis over the past seven days, and the number of patients infected with the virus in intensive care units is also lower, Governor Andy Beshear said .

“This is now a trend enough to say that we are in decline, and we hope this will continue for people hospitalized with COVID,” the governor said at a press conference.

Kentucky has been hit hard by a prolonged wave of coronavirus, fueled by the highly contagious delta variant as cases of the virus, hospitalizations and deaths surge, mostly among those unvaccinated against the virus. While deaths from the virus have remained high, there have been other signs of hope that the outbreak is slowing. On Wednesday, the governor said COVID-19 cases continued to stabilize.

“I’m touching wood, I hope October is a lot better than September,” Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said Thursday.

But the Democratic governor has warned that hospitalizations linked to the virus remain far too high.

“If we were to go back a month and a half, the current situation would rightly scare us,” Beshear said. “So let’s make sure that this decline continues.”

The state’s death toll from COVID-19 has continued to rise steadily. The governor on Wednesday reported 82 more deaths linked to the virus in Kentucky.

Advocating once again for the unvaccinated to get vaccinated, Beshear said vaccines offer “incredible protection” against the virus. More than 70% of adults in Kentucky have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to state statistics. The governor also urged Kentuckians to wear masks when indoors in public places to help curb the spread of the virus.

Although hospitalizations related to the virus are on the decline, the pressure on Kentucky hospitals continues, with nearly two-thirds of them still reporting a critical staff shortage, the governor said.

“Please, if you know someone who works at the hospital, thank them,” Stack said. “They’ve been through a lot. They’re going through a lot right now. The levels are still far too high to celebrate.

Republican Senate Speaker Robert Stivers sent a letter to Beshear on Thursday saying lawmakers are ready to work with the governor to help hospitals overcome staffing issues.

Some prominent Senate Republicans have urged the governor to recall lawmakers for another special legislative session to channel aid to these hospitals. Stivers described different options for securing funds to help hospitals strengthen staffing.

“I think I’ve been pretty clear that if we’re going to call a special session, they have to come and meet with me, and I got a letter,” Beshear told reporters in responding to the letter.

Only the governor can summon legislators to an extraordinary session.

Beshear said Thursday that the “serious work” needed before any special session to secure consensus on any action had not been done. He also said he was not convinced the funding would solve the problem, saying it could “escalate the arms race” between states trying to attract additional health workers to help besieged hospitals. treat COVID-19 patients.


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