LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky recently reached a record-high COVID-19 positivity rate of 13.66%. The CDC has said that anything over 10% could mean unmitigated spread of the virus, which puts many hospitals at or over capacity. That's the case in many areas of Kentucky.
What You Need To Know
- Kentucky recently reached a record-high COVID-19 positivity rate of 13.66%
- The University of Louisville hospital system is now dealing with more than 150 positive COVID-19 cases
- More than 600 Kentuckians are in the ICU and more than 400 are on a ventilator
- Kentucky Department of Public Health reported over 4,900 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday
ICU nurses are dealing with more patients than ever before. Gov. Andy Beshear and the Kentucky Department of Public Health reported over 4,900 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, plus more than 600 Kentuckians in the ICU.
Hospitals around the state are beginning to feel the repercussions.
“We are in a nursing shortage and we do have to put our scrubs on and come out to the floor and suit up with everyone else,” said Lindsey Kamerer, nurse manager for the COVID-19 ICU at The University of Louisville Hospital.
The UofL Hospital system is now dealing with more than 150 positive COVID-19 cases. ICU nurse, Samuel Miles who has worked at UofL Health for 5 years, said he’s frustrated.
“It's hard for people to really feel this because we don't allow visitors into the ICU so they can't see what exactly is going on. So you can't have a true feeling of what it's actually like unless you're in there, holding the patient's hand, you're seeing them cry,” said Samuel Miles, ICU nurse at UofL Hospital.
For nearly 30 years, Jill Beierle has worked as a bedside nurse in the medical intensive care unit. She says she’s seen just about everything come through the doors at UofL Hospital.
So when new COVID-19 cases showed signs of slowing earlier this year, Beierle thought things were starting to get better.
“It's disappointing because like I said, we thought we kind of got to the end of the tunnel and it's frustrating at times because we feel like the vaccines are out there now and that we thought that was going to be our saving grace to get us all back to normal,” Beierle said.
ICU nurses say the last 18 months have been tough both physically and mentally.
“It's very frustrating. I think a lot of my staff are struggling with losing their compassion for the unvaccinated,” Kamerer said. "We still obviously are very compassionate about caring for patients, that's why we do this and why we became nurses but it's very frustrating to have these really more sick and critically ill patients than we've ever seen before in the ICU’s. We do it day in and day out and I think our team work on the unit is what gets us through.”
Kentucky is also setting records in hospitalizations: Over 2,200 are currently admitted and more than 400 are on a ventilator.