Families worry about care for loved ones with hospitalizations increasing

Posted at 11:03 PM, Aug 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 00:07:04-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — We have seen a rapid spike in hospitalizations across Kentucky just in the last month.

Of course, this has to do with the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant. A man from southern Kentucky has been trying to transfer his grandfather from one hospital to another, but says capacity has been an issue.

Zac Oakes' family has spent the last week or so trying to make this transfer. He says his grandfather is not hospitalized because of COVID-19 and is not in the ICU, but he says the problem is much broader.

"COVID is causing such a surge in hospitalizations, these hospitals don't have room," said Oakes.

On Sunday, his family learned they will be able to move his grandfather to a different hospital. Again, it took nearly a week to get that news.

"These hospitals don't have room and if they don't have room for somebody who needs medical care quickly, I mean that can be a matter of life or death for some people and it's very frightening that we're at that point," Oakes said.

On July 13th, Kentucky data showed there were not even 250 COVID-19 patients in the hospitals in Kentucky. About 60 of them were in the ICU. Fast forwarding to the most recent report, which was on Friday, more than 1,400 people are hospitalized with COVID-19. It is another sign of how aggressive the virus is and the damage it can cause in just a month.

"A month ago, two months ago, I don't think we're having this conversation," Oakes says. "I don't think what my family and I have been through for the last week, I don't think it's a problem at that point."

About a month ago, roughly 61.5 percent of in-patient beds were occupied. That has increased to 69 percent. Given the increase, Oakes hopes we are not heading back to where we were at the start of the pandemic.

"We need everybody to do their part and that's get vaccinated, wearing a mask, doing what you need to do, to make sure that we don't go back there and we don't have hospitals overflowing, we don't have to go back to lockdowns and all of those things that we don't want to do again," Oakes said.

Several hospitals in central Kentucky told LEX 18 News earlier in the week that capacity can fluctuate by the day. Speaking generally about capacities, some told us it can change by the day but acknowledged the higher than normal patient volume.