Number of people getting tested is rising, so are hospitalizations

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Posted at 6:28 PM, Sep 08, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — More than 2,400 COVID-positive patients are in a Kentucky hospital tonight.

There are 434 physical beds at Baptist Health in Lexington. Right now, at least 90 of their current patients are COVID-positive.

"This is clearly the peak experience of the pandemic for Baptist Lexington. We're in the worst of it that we've ever seen," said Dr. James Borders, the chief medical officer of Baptist Health.

Between the staffing shortage and climbing number of patients infected by the virus, Dr. Borders had to make a call he had never done before.

"Today we have had a few hours that we're asking a few ambulances in the area be aware that we're so full that they need to take emergency cases to other hospitals while we try to clear out our emergency room," said Borders.

By 4:30, hospital officials say the ER was reopened to new patients.

The rise in hospitalizations coincides with the spreading of the delta variant, which is leading to an uptick in COVID-19 testing.

"The first seven days of September, we averaged over 2,000 per day for a total of 15,000 tests through this College Way testing site," said UK PD Chief Joe Monroe.

There are a variety of testing options, from the more reliable PRC to quicker rapid tests, some you can even take home.

But for those, the chief practice officer at UK's College of Pharmacy, Brooke Hudspeth, says to practice caution with the results.

"Oftentimes with the rapid tests or the at-home tests, you are probably more likely to see false negatives than you are false positives," said Hudspeth.

Which she says could give a potentially false sense of security.

"PCR is the gold standard," said Hudspeth.

PCR is now all that UK offers at testing sites.

"We're doing the PCR nasal swab. Usually, you get your results anywhere as quick as 12 hours to 48 hours," said Monroe.

Testing is important, but Dr. Borders says there is a more long-term way to solve the pandemic: readily available vaccines.

"Something this contagious and this prevalent will undergo change over time. Delta would not have occurred, in my opinion, and the opinion of many others, had everyone gone out and gotten vaccinated on the front end," said Dr. Borders.