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Kentucky officials: Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, ICU patients at all-time high – WLKY Louisville

Kentucky continues to break records as it tries to curb the latest and “most significant” spike in its battle against the coronavirus.With a positivity rate at nearly 7.5%, the highest since early May, the Commonwealth remains in the midst of another surge just as the holidays begin nearing.Gov. Andy Beshear said in his update Monday that just over 1,700 new COVID-19 cases were newly reported. There were also 11 people who died of COVID-19, according to the latest update.Beshear said those numbers don’t underscore the severity of the outbreak in Kentucky. Currently, the state has the highest number of people in the intensive care unit since the virus spread into the Commonwealth.Dr. Steven Stack, the state’s commissioner for the Department of Public Health, echoed those sentiments, adding that Kentucky is at an all-time high for new weekly cases, an all-time high for the number of Kentuckians with COVID-19 in the hospital, an all-time high for the number of Kentuckians in the ICU and an all-time high for the number of people with COVID-19 on ventilators.Stack said all of the state’s metrics are reaching new highs, showing continued signs of growth from the previous week.According to Stack, 81 Kentucky counties are in the ‘red zone’ for COVID-19 cases.”We had only a single yellow county. Every other county was red or orange. We are clearly at the worst case we have been with this disease,” Stack said. U of L Heath currently has 79 COVID-19 patients. Baptist Health has 130 and Norton Healthcare has 125.Norton Healthcare’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steven Hester says they are seeing an increase in COVID-19 patients, but they are still in good shape as far as capacity.”That represents about 10 percent of our overall patient population. So the total percentage tends to be small,” Hester said.According to Hester, even with the increase in ICU patients statewide, they are promising signs locally.”Patients do seem to be appearing to not require as much ICU admission or ventilatory support. Some of that has a lot to do with therapies and just ways patients are being treated,” Hester said.The latest spike comes after Kentucky was able to curb another spike just as schools were beginning to return to classes, albeit most of them starting the year with virtual learning.Now, the concern is that Thanksgiving and Christmas will only exacerbate the latest spike.Beshear and Stack told Kentuckians that holiday gatherings will be a “recipe for disaster.”Both agreed that residents should be careful because when having extended family over or vice versa because of the spread that’s possible between households.Health experts have been stressing concern that the fall and winter will only mean another spike for the rest of the country, and that could prove worrisome for Kentucky — or other states — because of the unavailability of health professionals to help out in other states.Stack said he’s concerned the next two to three months could be “quite alarming.”The governor said the “dangerous rise” should be a reminder for people to continue wearing masks, not just to protect themselves but others.”If everywhere is surging, we’re going to end up on our own. That means if we get overrun and we don’t have enough staff in hospitals, it’s our friends, our neighbors, maybe even our family members who won’t get the treatment they need,” he said.The latest warnings come after Beshear unveiled his red zone recommendations for counties seeing the most significant COVID-19 spread. Those recommendations instruct states to move school districts back to virtual learning and cease large gatherings.”It took us almost 15 weeks from the start of this pandemic in Kentucky just to get to the number of cases we had last week alone,” Stack said.

Kentucky continues to break records as it tries to curb the latest and “most significant” spike in its battle against the coronavirus.

With a positivity rate at nearly 7.5%, the highest since early May, the Commonwealth remains in the midst of another surge just as the holidays begin nearing.

Gov. Andy Beshear said in his update Monday that just over 1,700 new COVID-19 cases were newly reported. There were also 11 people who died of COVID-19, according to the latest update.

Beshear said those numbers don’t underscore the severity of the outbreak in Kentucky. Currently, the state has the highest number of people in the intensive care unit since the virus spread into the Commonwealth.

Dr. Steven Stack, the state’s commissioner for the Department of Public Health, echoed those sentiments, adding that Kentucky is at an all-time high for new weekly cases, an all-time high for the number of Kentuckians with COVID-19 in the hospital, an all-time high for the number of Kentuckians in the ICU and an all-time high for the number of people with COVID-19 on ventilators.

Stack said all of the state’s metrics are reaching new highs, showing continued signs of growth from the previous week.

According to Stack, 81 Kentucky counties are in the ‘red zone’ for COVID-19 cases.

“We had only a single yellow county. Every other county was red or orange. We are clearly at the worst case we have been with this disease,” Stack said.

U of L Heath currently has 79 COVID-19 patients. Baptist Health has 130 and Norton Healthcare has 125.

Norton Healthcare’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steven Hester says they are seeing an increase in COVID-19 patients, but they are still in good shape as far as capacity.

“That represents about 10 percent of our overall patient population. So the total percentage tends to be small,” Hester said.

According to Hester, even with the increase in ICU patients statewide, they are promising signs locally.

“Patients do seem to be appearing to not require as much ICU admission or ventilatory support. Some of that has a lot to do with therapies and just ways patients are being treated,” Hester said.

The latest spike comes after Kentucky was able to curb another spike just as schools were beginning to return to classes, albeit most of them starting the year with virtual learning.

Now, the concern is that Thanksgiving and Christmas will only exacerbate the latest spike.

Beshear and Stack told Kentuckians that holiday gatherings will be a “recipe for disaster.”

Both agreed that residents should be careful because when having extended family over or vice versa because of the spread that’s possible between households.

Health experts have been stressing concern that the fall and winter will only mean another spike for the rest of the country, and that could prove worrisome for Kentucky — or other states — because of the unavailability of health professionals to help out in other states.

Stack said he’s concerned the next two to three months could be “quite alarming.”

The governor said the “dangerous rise” should be a reminder for people to continue wearing masks, not just to protect themselves but others.

“If everywhere is surging, we’re going to end up on our own. That means if we get overrun and we don’t have enough staff in hospitals, it’s our friends, our neighbors, maybe even our family members who won’t get the treatment they need,” he said.

The latest warnings come after Beshear unveiled his red zone recommendations for counties seeing the most significant COVID-19 spread. Those recommendations instruct states to move school districts back to virtual learning and cease large gatherings.

“It took us almost 15 weeks from the start of this pandemic in Kentucky just to get to the number of cases we had last week alone,” Stack said.

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