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Beshear speaks about ‘dire’ state of Ky. hospitals as COVID-19 cases surge

Governor Andy Beshear held a press conference Tuesday morning. He discussed the dire state of...
Governor Andy Beshear held a press conference Tuesday morning. He discussed the dire state of Kentucky’s hospitals and who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster.(WKYT)
Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 11:16 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Governor Andy Beshear held a press conference Tuesday morning to discuss the dire state of Kentucky’s hospitals and address who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster:

Public Health Commisioner Dr. Steven Stack said Kentuckians with the following conditions should consider receiving a third vaccine dose:

  • Active or recent treatment for cancer/malignancy;
  • Solid-organ or hematopoietic stem cell transplants;
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome);
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection; and
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers and other immunosuppressive medications.

“For everyone else in general population, those with compromised immune systems will go first for the third shot,” Dr. Stack said.

Gov. Beshear said COVID-19 cases in Kentucky children have increased more than 400% in the last month, from 133 July 16 to 548 Aug. 16.

In addition, as of Aug. 16, Kentucky had 17 pediatric admissions for COVID-19, the state’s highest ever total. The previous highest number was 12 admissions in December 2020.

The governor says the nation is reporting record COVID-19 hospitalizations in children.

Alabama has reported it only has two ICU beds still available. Mississippi public health officials confirmed another child has died from COVID-19 complications, the state’s fifth pediatric death since March 2020.

Governor Beshear talked about how close hospitals in Kentucky are to filling up. The COVID-19 situation in the southern states is also beginning to have an impact here.

According to Dr. Stack, hospitals in Kentucky are receiving calls from hospitals in Louisiana and Alabama seeking ICU beds to transfer patients to them; and reports from Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, Missouri and Louisiana saying there are no beds available in these states.

Dr. Stack also said a variety of hospitals across Kentucky have already started canceling and postponing non-urgent, but important, surgeries and other procedures that would require admission to the hospital for overnight stays.

“Critical access hospitals in Kentucky are beginning to report difficulty getting their patients accepted at larger hospitals in Kentucky,” said Dr. Stack. “In one instance, a hospital called 10 other hospitals and was unable to receive an accepting hospital to take their patient.”

With hospitals across the southern half of the country running out of room, Gov. Beshear said it might not be long before Kentucky joins them.

Gov. Beshear said we have around half a million doses of COVID-19 vaccine available in Kentucky right now, and can order more if needed.

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