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'Already on the brink' | Two-thirds of Kentucky hospitals face critical staffing shortage

Beshear noted that 91% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

FRANKFORT, Ky. —

Gov. Andy Beshear said that 62 of 96 hospitals are facing critical staffing shortages due to the surge of COVID-19 cases across the commonwealth.

“It means not only do you know you don’t have enough staff but you are terribly worried about the next day and what that could mean," Beshear said during a 'Team Kentucky' update Thursday. “It certainly means you don’t have enough staff for your entire capacity that is there in other words if you have 100 beds you couldn’t tend to 100 beds because of the staffing that you are in.”  

Kentucky is seeing a record high in hospitalizations, patients on ventilators and in the ICU. In the latest COVID-19 report, more than 9,000 inpatient beds are occupied and 1,300 or close to 90% of ICU beds are occupied. 

Beshear noted this past week was the worst in terms of new cases since the pandemic started.

“It is making people sicker than we have ever seen,” the governor said. "More cases mean more deaths. Our hospitals are already on the brink."

The state's positivity rate remains over 13% and Kentucky saw more than 40k more COVID-19 cases in August 2021 than reported in August 2020. 

Beshear said that one in every four new case is a child under 18 testing positive. About 30 school districts across the state have paused due to COVID-19.

“It’s infecting our kids and it’s closing our schools," Beshear said. 

At this time, 90% of the state's new cases and 91% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. The governor noted that those who are vaccinated can possess up to six times the protection against the Delta variant. 

In August, 85% of all COVID-19 cases were the Delta variant. 

"The Delta variant continues to burn through Kentucky with a rate the likes we’ve never seen," Beshear said.

More than 2.5 million Kentuckians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine which includes 69% of the adult population. 

Watch Beshear's full 'Team Kentucky' update below: 

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