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Governor Beshear: ICU Bed Availability Lowest During The Pandemic

Governor Beshear-Stu Johnson screenshot

Governor Beshear says Kentucky’s hospital situation has never been more direr than right now. During his briefing Thursday, the governor said the 90 adult intensive care beds available are the fewest during the coronavirus pandemic. And, Beshear said hospitals are having to request basic supplies. “Baptist Health Hardin requesting 25 beds, mattresses, and IV poles because they are opening additional in-patient beds in places in the hospital where they’ve never been,” said Beshear.

Beshear said Kentuckians in their 20’s and teens are not immune to COVID and it could cause serious illness and harm.

The governor has acted to call up an additional 300 Army National Guard members to help out at 21 hospitals. Asked if he might deploy even more Guards units, Beshear said it’s more likely current members might be shifted from one facility to another.

Governor Beshear said he doesn’t believe Kentucky has lost a large number of nurses to other states during the current pandemic. The governor said hospital staffing companies have hired care givers at higher wages and sent them to other facilities, sometimes out of state. “So I don’t think we’ve lost a ton to other states. We’ve gotten some in from others. What we’re seeing is, we’re seeing poaching on each other,” explained Beshear.

Beshear noted, for the most part, it’s not a situation of one hospital hiring staff from another in-state healthcare system. He added it’s often carried out by staffing companies, something Beshear labeled “not a good situation.” The governor said he would support Kentucky nursing schools taking on more students. Beshear said it needs to be opened up.

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