FRANKFORT, Ky. – Today Governor Andy Beshear visited the Health Heroes at the Franklin County Health Department and signed a proclamation to recognize the start of Health Heroes Appreciation Week in the Commonwealth.
He encouraged businesses, schools, communities, churches, families and more to celebrate the health heroes that surround them as well.
“Despite the challenges, our health heroes are doing what they always do – providing the best and most compassionate care possible to Kentuckians in need,” said Beshear. “But they need our help now, and the work they have done for all of us deserves to be respected and supported in any way they can.”
Today, Beshear also announced a record number of Kentuckians with COVID-19 who are hospitalized, admitted to intensive care and on ventilators, and health officials shared their experiences in their hospitals.
“For our count of hospitalized COVID patients, we doubled in one week. And our curve seems to be steepening, ”said Dr. William Melahn, Chief Medical Officer of St. Claire HealthCare.. “We made the very difficult decision to switch to code yellow, which is our contingency plan. There are two reasons for getting vaccinated. One is to protect yourself, and the other is to protect the people around you. Let me emphasize the reality a bit: if we were to witness another disaster now – even a small one – we will no longer have any reserves. So if we had a bus crash or a flu epidemic or whatever, I don’t know what we would do. “
“It’s a nightmare trying to staff these emergency units, and it’s not just the COVID patients we have in the hospital right now. That’s a lot of other seriously ill patients. So when you add COVID patients on top of that, it makes the staff doubly difficult, ”said Lerae Wilson, vice president of patient services and chief nursing officer at St. Claire HealthCare.
“We will overcome this, but it will take a monumental effort. No matter how many nurses, therapists, doctors, pharmacists or whatever it is, it won’t be enough for this increase, ”said Steve Haines, RN, BSN, RRT and Director of Nursing intensive care services in Ephraim. McDowell Regional Medical Center. “Right now it looks like there is no end. The only chance we have is vaccination.
“Over the past three weeks, we have seen the number of COVID-19 patients in our healthcare organization quadruple. We are seeing younger patients who are sicker. They are filling our hospital beds, supporting patients in the emergency department, and we are getting to the point where it will be difficult for us to provide emergency care to those who need it, ”said Dr. Jason Smith, MD. , chief medical officer of the UofL Health. “I urge everyone in Louisville and the Commonwealth to please step up and get vaccinated for yourself, your families and the communities around you.”
“Like the governor, I agree that there is one thing we cannot do enough during these times, and that is to thank our caregivers for all they do for men, women and the children of our communities, “said Mike Yungmann, senior vice president, Mercy Health, and president of market, Paducah and Irvine. “I am in awe of the truly heroic work of our nurses, doctors and healthcare teams on a daily basis to care not only for patients, but for each other, especially as we see the number of COVID-19 cases increasing to new.”
Updated information on the COVID-19 case
Number of people who received at least one dose of vaccine in Kentucky: 2,476,420
New cases today: 2,596
Positivity rate: 12.87%
Current hospitalizations: 1,893
Current ICU admissions: 529
Currently on Fans: 301
Governor announces new recommendations for Red Zone County
Today, Beshear announced new recommendations for 119 counties in the ‘red zone’ for COVID-19 cases, meaning a county has a weekly average of 25 or more new COVID-19 cases per day , per 100,000 people.
The governor’s new red zone recommendations include:
- Increase vaccination efforts to reach unvaccinated people;
- Require masking in government buildings;
- Encourage masking in indoor public places for all people > 2 years;
- Encourage masking in crowded outdoor environments for all people > 2 years;
- Encourage a physical distance of at least six feet from each other in public places;
- Maximize the use of outdoor spaces for gatherings;
- Consider limiting in-person community gatherings and postponing large events;
- Encourage medically vulnerable people to avoid large crowds; and
- Mobilize community partners and stakeholders to implement a solid communication plan.
Beshear calls for FEMA support for understaffed hospitals
Beshear said that during other COVID-19 outbreaks, Kentucky hospitals, emergency medical services and health systems have been able to adapt and grow to care for patients. However, with the surge of the delta variant, some of the state’s systems are in serious distress and at risk of collapsing.
In addition to the record number of patients, the available pool of licensed healthcare providers has shrunk due to attrition and extreme demand across the country.
For these reasons, Beshear said he is submitting a request for resources to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) so that additional medical professionals can help where Kentucky needs it most.
“We requested eight teams of eight registered nurses and two certified practical nurses per team. We have also requested two EMS response teams, which include personnel and trucks, ”Governor Beshear said. “Our hospitals need this support, and we will do whatever it takes to make it happen. Until then, we need everyone to wear a mask inside and get vaccinated. We hope FEMA will approve this request soon.
If federal approval is received, medical teams will take care of:
- St. Claire Regional Medical Center;
- Pikeville Medical Center;
- Saint Joseph London;
- Bowling Green Medical Center; and
- Baptiste Santé Hardin.
Kentucky National Guard COVID-19 Mission Expansion
Beshear said on August 18 that President Joe Biden extended reimbursement to states for mobilization of National Guard personnel in support of COVID-19 response efforts beyond the original September 30 deadline, until the end of the calendar year.
“In Kentucky, that means our Kentucky guards will continue to help combat the surge that we are seeing due to the delta variant,” Beshear said. “Our Kentucky Guards have been on mission since March 2020 to help our Commonwealth fight COVID-19, and we appreciate their continued support. “
The Kentucky National Guard will provide logistical and administrative support to local hospitals starting September 1. There will be a National Guard central command dedicated to this mission and deployments will be in two week increments. The initial deployment will include 75 guards, divided into five teams of 15 people.
The places of departure are:
- Bowling Green Medical Center;
- St. Claire Regional Medical Center, Morehead; and
- Pikeville Medical Center.
Other Kentucky National Guard fall missions include:
- Mobile vaccination teams (local schools, universities, detention centers, among others);
- Support local health services; and
- Support from the food bank.
Drawn to a million
Beshear continued to encourage all Kentuckians 12 and over to get a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, and then to register for a chance to win $ 1 million or a full college scholarship on ShotAtAMillion.ky. gov. Two million dollar winners and 10 full scholarship winners were announced on July 2 and 30. On August 27, another million dollar winner and five more full scholarship recipients will be announced.
“Our last Shot at a Million draw is this Thursday. We have had almost 100,000 new entries since our last draw and I hope that even more people get vaccinated and sign up in the next two days, ”said Beshear.
Over 850,000 Kentuckians aged 18 and over registered to win $ 1 million and nearly 50,000 youth aged 12 to 17 registered for the chance to receive a full scholarship at a public college, university , a Kentucky business or technical school.