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LOCAL NEWS

COVID Cases Drop as Hospitalizations Jump Dramatically on Tuesday


Gov. Andy Beshear said the COVID-19 infection rate appears to be slowing in Kentucky but he's concerned about hospital capacity in several regions of the state.

The Governor reported 3,114 new cases on Tuesday. 

 

“That’s a lot of cases.  It is more than we want.  The good news is it’s over a thousand cases less than last Tuesday.  Again, the growth in cases appears to be slowing.  We hope that holds through the rest of the week.”

 

Seven counties had 100 or more new cases.  Jefferson with 490, Fayette 170, Warren 130, Pulaski 124, Boyd and Madison each had 101, and Daviess at an even 100.

 

Kentucky has now had 205,688 positive cases since the first was reported on March 6.

 

The number of Kentuckians hospitalized rose by 60 to 1,760 on Tuesday, according to Beshear.  He also reported 416 people who are in the ICU, an increase of six, while those on a ventilator stood at 207, a drop of three from Monday.

 

Beshear did sound the alarm because of the increasing number of Kentuckians in the hospital.

 

“The sheer number of cases results in a certain percentage being hospitalized,” he stated.  “The more people who need hospitalization, the fewer beds are out there. The staff gets stretched thin.  If we go over our hospital capacity, then New York, Texas, Florida, Arizona, all teach us we lose a lot more people.”        

 

It’s not just people with COVID who are affected, according to the Governor.  “If we fill up a hospital with a lot of COVID patients and someone has a heart attack and there’s not a bed for them, their odds of surviving are less than if we have that healthcare capacity.  It puts us all at risk, even if we are following all we should and staying healthy at home as much as we can.” 

 

Beshear said the state’s hospitals are divided into 10 regions, seen in a map accompanying this story. A red pin indicates either the regular hospital beds, ICU beds or ventilators that are over 80%, which is a cause for concern.  Those regions are in northern, south-central and eastern Kentucky.

 

While no region is in danger of a shortage of ventilators, “When we look at overall beds, only one area of the state, northern Kentucky, is over 80%, at 87.6%,” Beshear said, while noting there is a real concern for ICU beds.  “Three areas of our state, four, eight and 10 are currently over 80%.  In fact, they are 88%, 95%, and 90%.”

 

He called the situation in those areas, “precarious,” but added, there is really good work being done by the hospitals by opening other beds for ICU and pausing elective procedures.

 

Twenty more deaths were also reported today, bringing the pandemic total to 2,102.  “Five of them were under 60 years old,” Beshear said.  “That shows you how this is hitting people in all walks of life.”

 

Beshear also said he received some support from the American Medical Association in the lawsuit filed against him by a group of private religious schools and Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

 

Beshear quoted from the AMA brief: “The public health order at issue in this case, which temporarily ordered the closure of all Kentucky schools for in-person classes, was based on sound scientific considerations.

 

“The Declaration of Dr. Steven J. Stack, M.D., Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, gives a detailed scientific explanation for the temporary in-person closure of Kentucky schools, grades K-12. It also explains why other Kentucky institutions may face fewer restrictions. Dr. Stack’s declaration is based on solid medical reasoning, which is largely apparent from the declaration itself.

 

"The district court, however, asserted that Dr. Stack and the Governor had inadequately explained why K-12 schools should close, while other institutions can remain open.”

 

The plaintiffs were successful in district court in obtaining a halt to the Governor’s order, but the U. S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court ruling.  The case has now been appealed to the U. S. Supreme Court, which has not yet decided whether they will take it up.    
 

To view the full daily report, testing locations, red zone counties and the red zone recommendations, current restrictions, the weekly White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky, vaccine distribution plans  and other key guidance, go to kycovid19.ky.gov.

 

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