Gov. Beshear says state supporting hospitals in fight against COVID-19

Cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky as of Wednesday, September 15.
Cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky as of Wednesday, September 15.(Kentucky Dept. for Public Health)
Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 3:55 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2021 at 11:32 AM CDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KFVS) - Governor Andy Beshear said the state is supporting hospitals in the fight against COVID-19.

Governor Andy Beshear gave a Team Kentucky update. He spoke at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 16.

He said the Commonwealth expanded personnel and testing assistance.

From March 2020 to May 2021, before the Delta variant was dominant in the U.S., the governor said 74 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Kentucky were among those 70 and older, and 98 percent were among those 50 and older.

From June 2021 to September 15, once the Delta variant became dominant, he said the share of younger COVID-19 patients dying increased significantly.

According to the governor, during that time, 48 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Kentucky were among those 70 and older, and 88 percent were among those 50 and older.

“The No.1 thing that we can do to get through this is to get vaccinated,” said Governor Beshear. “I think the tough conversations we’re having with those we love who may be hesitant to get the vaccine are making a difference, but we need a lot more of those conversations.”

As of Thursday, Kentucky has 93 total adult ICU beds left. Out of 96 Kentucky hospitals, 66 are experiencing critical staffing shortages.

“Within the last month or so, we’ve been seeing 20-year-olds and 30-year-olds and 50-year-olds come in and within 24 to 48 hours they die,” said Traci Sanchez, MD, KDMC. “Families are angry. They’re lost. Patients are lost because they know they’re dying. It’s hard to tell someone who is 40 years old that they’re going to be dead within 24 hours and there’s nothing we can do.”

The governor said more than two dozen hospitals are receiving or soon will receive Kentucky National Guard support.

The National Guard arrived at Baptist Health in Paducah on Wednesday.

To see a map that includes Kentucky National Guard, nursing student and testing support, click here.

Governor Beshear said the week ending Sept. 14, Kentucky hospitals used 5,063 COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment courses and had 6,883 additional courses on hand.

Just a week before, Kentucky hospitals distributed 3,642 monoclonal antibody courses and had 7,435 additional courses on hand.

He said the trend indicated that soon Kentucky may not have enough monoclonal antibody courses to meet the demand, as the federal government recently announced a national shortage

The governor also recognized five Kentucky companies that recently celebrated significant investments and anniversaries.

One of those was Phoenix Paper in Wickliffe.

Governor Beshear welcomed Michael Grimm, the new president and chief executive officer of Global Win Capital Corp., to Kentucky. Global Win is the North American parent company of Phoenix Paper, which operates a renovated paper mill in Wickliffe, a major employer in Ballard and Carlisle Counties.

The mill closed in July 2016, but was later bought by the Chinese paper company Shanying, which invested $150 million to modernize and reopen the facility.

“Congratulations to Mike, and thanks to Global Win for their continued investment in this Kentucky facility,” said Governor Beshear. “I anticipate seeing more great developments at Phoenix Paper and ongoing success for the West Kentucky region.”

Cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky

The Kentucky Department for Public Health reported 4,891 new cases of COVID-19 and 62 additional deaths on Wednesday, September 15.

The current positivity rate is 13 percent.

As of Thursday, the department reported 2,453 hospitalized in Kentucky with the virus. Of those, 667 were in the ICU and 448 were on ventilators.

The governor announced that 2,631,420 Kentuckians have received at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, meaning 69 percent of all eligible Kentuckians have received at least one dose.

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