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COVID-19: Record Week for Positive Cases and People Currently Hospitalized, on Ventilators

Another record number of people in Kentucky are hospitalized with COVID-19, Governor Andy Beshear announced Monday.

He also reported 56 COVID-related deaths over the past three days.

The state saw a record number for positive cases in one week, from August 23 to August 29, when a total of 29,456 were counted.

Across five Northern Kentucky counties Friday through Monday, there were 869 new cases (311 in Kenton, 237 in Boone, 193 in Campbell, 95 in Grant, and 33 in Grant).

There is also a record number of people in intensive care units (615) and on ventilators (384).

The delta variant of the virus that has caused a global pandemic since early last year is cited as the main culprit in this most recent case surge.

“We continue to be hit harder and harder with this delta variant. We’re seeing it all across the United States, now reaching a daily average of more than 100,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations for the first time since the winter peak,” said Beshear. “This isn’t just people getting COVID; it’s them being sick enough to end up in the hospital.”

In August 2020, 11.8% of COVID-19 cases in Kentucky were among children and teens under 18; in August 2021, 24.5% of cases have been. As of Aug. 27, there have been 18,909 COVID cases this month in those under 18 compared to 2,352 in August 2020.

At least 18 Kentucky school districts have already had at least one closure due to COVID-19 this school year.

From March 1 to Aug. 25, 90.6% of COVID-19 cases, 90.8% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 87.1% of COVID-19 deaths in the commonwealth have been among partially vaccinated or unvaccinated Kentuckians.

Health care workers and COVID-19 survivors urged their fellow Kentuckians to get vaccinated to protect themselves and the people they love.

“We are all overwhelmed at this time. To share our story at Baptist Health Corbin, this morning when we came in, we had a census of 175, all of our ICU beds, our PCU beds, our telemetry beds, our med surge beds are all full. We have no more capacity in those beds. We’ve made the decision to close our surgery department to allow us some extra space should it be needed and utilize that staff to take care of patients as well,” said Sherrie Mays, a nurse, vice president and chief nursing officer for Baptist Health Corbin. “The thing I would like to ask is, please get your vaccination. That’s the one thing you can do for our community. The other thing you can do for our community is pray for our patients, and pray for our staff and our physicians that they can be resilient during this pandemic and that we can get through it as quickly as possible.”

“In March 2020, I was one of the first people to contract COVID. Initially I thought it was just the flu, and I was hoping it was just the flu, but things progressed and I ended up comatose on a ventilator for three weeks,” said Dr. Jeffrey Foxx, who practices family medicine at Baptist Health Lexington. “When I got sick, we only had a few masks to protect us. We had limited PPE. We had limited testing. We had no idea how to treat the disease. We had no vaccines. But things have changed since then. We can mitigate the disease. We can protect ourselves. We can protect our family and friends. We can protect our co-workers. Get the vaccine.”

“I was waiting for my turn for the vaccine in January, when in spite of our small circle and lots of care, my two kids, my husband and I tested positive for COVID-19. Within a couple of weeks, I was on a ventilator. I stayed in the hospital during that stay for over 100 days. I was sedated and missed my daughter’s 9th birthday, my son’s 4th birthday and my 17th wedding anniversary. I missed my mom’s birthday. I missed these major milestones,” said Lora Adkins of Pike County, a COVID-19 survivor who spent more than 70 days on a ventilator. “Now the vaccine is readily available and it’s a choice, but to me that choice is simple.”

“Working in the hospital system, you see the effects of COVID,” said Dennis Pitcock, a physical therapist at T.J. Regional Health. “We’ve had many patients that have come through and you can see how devastating the disease can be.”

“I had a rather long and difficult time with COVID. I was in the hospital a little over three-and-a-half months. A month of that time I was on the ventilator. Recovery was difficult, and if I could have avoided that, I definitely would have,” said Bill Kindred, former chief executive officer of T.J. Regional Health. “Getting the vaccine, if it can prevent going through what I did and what I put my family through, is a small price to pay.”

The number of people who have received at least one vaccine dose in Kentucky stands at 2,524,083.

There are three widely available and highly effective COVID-19 vaccines in the state.

-Staff report

Photo: A sign promoting COVID vaccines at Save Discount Drugs in Covington (Michael Monks/RCN)