Kentucky sets 3 new COVID-19 records; National Guard teams to deploy to struggling hospitals

Kentucky will send National Guard members to struggling hospitals as the state set new pandemic records Aug. 23 for residents with COVID-19 who are hospitalized, admitted to the intensive care unit and on ventilators, Gov. Andy Beshear said during a press conference.  

The governor reported a record 1,893 Kentuckians hospitalized for COVID-19 Aug. 23. The state also reported records for Kentuckians in ICUs (529) and on ventilators (301).

"Our hospitalizations have been doubling just about every two weeks. That means we are getting really close to every single bed across the entire Commonwealth that we can staff being full. There are some hospitals in some areas that are already at critical, out of space and now spend more time calling other places to see if there's a bed than they ever thought possible," said Mr. Beshear.

Overall, the state estimated Aug. 23 that between 21 and 25 of Kentucky hospitals were grappling with critical staffing shortages.

Amid the COVID-19 surge, National Guard members will deploy to struggling hospitals, beginning in September, Mr. Beshear announced.

He said the initial deployment will be 75 members, in teams of 15.

The governor also announced that he has requested eight teams that include registered nurses and nursing assistants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to assist hospitals amid staffing shortages. He said he also requested emergency medical services strike teams to help with patient transfers.

Listen to the full press conference here

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