Healthcare capacity in KY, IN stable, but could be impacted by case increases

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Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 6:51 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - With Kentucky seeing back-to-back days of more than 1,000 new cases of Coronavirus, the capacity of hospitals across the commonwealth may be on the minds of some concerned the state is on par for a prolonged COVID-19 spike.

Governor Andy Beshear, (D) Kentucky, said he believes fall may be a challenging season when it comes to the pandemic and the state is on the verge of an increase in cases.

“We are reporting our second highest total that we have had since March the 6th,” Beshear said.

He urged Kentuckians to take precautions seriously during press conferences this week.

Beshear reported 1,004 new cases Wednesday with a positivity rate of 4.07%.

Beshear noted that even with a lower positivity rate, a higher number of cases could have an impact on the number of ICU beds used.

According to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the commonwealth hasn’t been close to nearing ICU or ventilator capacity, which has remained relatively stable over the past several months.

Institute projections show the situation may get more challenging in Kentucky and Indiana when it comes to ICU beds.

“By finding those positive cases, it helps make sure that we can get them better, but 1,018 cases is going the wrong direction,” Beshear said during a press briefing Tuesday.

In Indiana, state health officials said total hospitalizations are down from May but have increased over the last half of September.

They added new hospital admissions are on a downward trend over the last month.

“We said the state needed to retain its surge capacity for critical care beds and ventilators,” Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana State Health Commissioner, said during a weekly briefing Wednesday. “We currently have about 37 percent of our ICU beds available and we have more than 80 percent of ventilators available.”

Leaders at Norton Healthcare said they’re not seeing the spike in cases the state is seeing in their facilities, but they are watching it.

“Just because it doesn’t correlate doesn’t mean that we don’t take it into consideration,” Dr. Paul Schulz, Norton Healthcare System epidemiologist, said. “Obviously, for long-term planning, the organization can see what’s happening in the state and knows for instance, COVID isn’t over, right.”

Schulz said he has not seen flu alone impact hospital capacity significantly but suggests people get a flu shot in hopes that will help lessen the severity of flu season this year.

According to a hospital spokesperson, Norton Healthcare is working to develop capabilities to test for flu and COVID simultaneously.

Copyright 2020 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

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