Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear laid out the severity of the Covid-19 spread in his state on CNN Wednesday saying that while hospitals are not yet at the point of needing to make tough choices about rationing care, “we are right at” or “quickly approaching that point.”
“We are in a really tough place, Kate” he told CNN anchor Kate Bolduan.
“We’ve called in FEMA strike teams, the National Guard, we’ve deployed nursing students all over the state, we’ve taken over testing from hospitals just to free up additional people,” he said.
“But we’ve had more people test positive than ever before. We have more people in the hospital because of Covid than ever before. We are at record numbers or near record numbers we set just days ago of people in the ICU or on a ventilator,” the governor continued.
Asked whether doctors and hospitals were at a point where tough choices needed to be made about rationing care, Beshear said “At the moment we are still able to move patients from one hospital to another but we are right at, or quickly approaching that point.”
The governor said Saint Claire hospital in Moorehead has closed three operating rooms to expand ICU bed space.
A Danville, Kentucky hospital not used to treating really sick patients and has a morgue big enough for two people saw seven deaths over the weekend, he said.
Tents are set up outside of Pikeville Medical Center for patients to be triaged and health officials to determine “whether people really need to be in the hospital or not.”
More than two-thirds of hospitals have critical staffing shortages and ventilators had to be delivered to hospitals around the state that “almost never have to use” them.
“It’s not just big urban hospitals that that fill up, its regional hospitals that typically don’t treat incredibly sick patients who are filled with those sick patients,” he said.
“So we are at a very precarious situation,” he said.