FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – More good news for Kentucky has come regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of hospitalizations and the positivity rate; however, the total number of deaths reached a new milestone on Thursday.
“Hospitalizations have decreased 17% over the last seven days, and the trend continues,” Gov. Andy Beshear said during a Capitol press conference. “We were a little worried that we might see a leveling off, but every day it seems we see a decrease.”
He said this relieves some of the pressure on the state’s hospital system. “We have 58 of 96 hospitals reporting critical staff shortages. Remember, that’s been in the high 60s and even close to 70 at one point. I don’t think we have been below 60 in at least three weeks.”
There has been outside help from the federal government for Kentucky hospitals. Some have ended their deployment, others continue, and even more are scheduled to arrive this month, according to Brice Mitchell, a Cabinet for Health and Family Services spokesman.
The National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) team arrived at Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center on Sept. 22. For two weeks, they provided assistance in the Emergency Department and assisted respiratory therapists on the medical floors with breathing treatments. Their last day was Oct. 4.
There was an extension for the five EMS strike teams positioned regionally in Lexington, Louisville, Somerset, Corbin and Owensboro. Thus far, these teams have completed well over 1,000 transports throughout the commonwealth; demobilization will take place on Oct. 25.
Additionally, a monoclonal antibody (mAb) subcutaneous team – consisting of three nurses – arrived in Corbin on Sept. 27 and will be onsite for one month. Another team was originally assigned to Middlesboro, however, this assignment was canceled prior to them making an arrival due to a change in circumstances for the Middlesboro area. They felt appointments were now manageable by their staff and did not want to monopolize an asset that could be used elsewhere.
Two additional mAb teams, comprised of six persons each, are expected to start at ARH Highlands Regional Medical Center in Prestonsburg and Primary Care Centers of Eastern Kentucky on Oct. 9. Taylor Regional Hospital is also getting a six-person mAb team starting on Oct. 11. All these teams will be at their respective location for one month.
Some 450 members of the Kentucky National Guard have been deployed to hospitals around the state, where they are helping in non-medical activities.
Beshear said there were 50 more deaths reported on Thursday, putting the state’s pandemic total over the 9,000 mark, at 9,022. “That’s more than we’ve lost in any modern war, any two of them put together. It’s the largest loss of life over a period of time than any of us have lived through.”
Beshear said he will not hold any COVID-19 updates next week, as his two young children will be out of school, and he wants to spend more time with them.