Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said ICU capacity is expected to reach its highest levels since the pandemic began later this week. On Tuesday, Beshear again warned that unvaccinated patients make up the majority of hospitalizations.
“Folks, when the ICU fills up because of COVID — primarily with unvaccinated individuals — that means there is not a bed when someone is in that car accident, has a heart attack, has a stroke. And we are seeing this and starting to see it more and more across Kentucky,” Beshear said.
Kentucky’s top health official, Dr. Steven Stack reminded anyone going to a hospital to be be considerate of health care staff.
“If you go to an emergency department in Kentucky, you’re going to have to be patient. And you’re going to have to be nice to the staff there because they’re all under a lot of strain and a lot of stress,” Stack said. “And a lot of them are particularly distressed, that the hospitals that are now full and strained are strained because people haven’t gotten vaccinated and haven’t taken a simple step to protect themselves.”
Stack said the spread of misinformation about the vaccine and virus is killing people and that deaths from the virus are preventable.
Hospitals have begun canceling or postponing routine surgeries because of the rise of COVID-19 patients. Stack explained that the lack of staffed beds will continue to get worse as more COVID-19 patients are hospitalized.
“Because there’s not sufficient staff to provide those services, and to have that person occupy a bed for a period of a day or multiple days after their surgery or procedure. So what this means is non COVID patients are going to start being impacted,” he said.
Gov. Beshear said a statewide mask mandate is being considered. ICU capacity in Kentucky is currently at 65%. In southern and eastern Kentucky, as much as 90% of ICU beds are in use.
Within the last day, Ohio reported 3,235 new cases of COVID-19. ICU capacity is at about 70%. Cases continue to rise in West Virginia where the state has recorded 1,339 new COVID-19 infections and 12 new deaths in the past 24 hours.