Hospitals feeling strain of surging COVID cases

FRANKFORT, Ky. — While the current coronavirus surge appears to be showing early signs that it may be decreasing in strength, many hospitals continue to see a flood of patients.

And that is especially true in Eastern Kentucky, where 90 percent of ICU beds are currently occupied.

Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said Thursday that once that number goes above 85 percent, hospitals are forced to choose which patients can be treated, and which have to be turned away.

“When you look at a map and see that four out of our 10 regions are over 80 percent, and of those, three of those 10 are over 90 percent, that means those health systems in those regions are having to start making difficult decisions and choices,” Dr. Stack said.

Looking at the latest numbers, Kentucky saw its highest one-day total on Thursday, with more than 4,300 new cases reported. That brings the total to more than 213,000.

Twenty-eight more Kentuckians have died, raising the death toll to 2,146.

More than 1,700 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, including 422 in intensive care and 231 on ventilators.

The state’s positivity rate fell for the seventh day in a row and now stands at 9.13 percent.