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LEX 18 In-Depth: A look at Kentucky's ventilator capacity

COVID-19 ventilator
Posted at 7:36 PM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 19:36:16-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky's coronavirus reports consistently got worse as this summer went on.

On Thursday, Governor Andy Beshear said the state is dealing with exponential COVID-19 growth and it's putting a strain on hospitals.

"Our hospitals...are already on the brink," said Beshear. "This can't continue. If we have this type of exponential growth - we're out of everything. That's staffable beds. That's staffable ICU beds."

And ventilators.

Beshear said Kentucky already asked for 40 additional vents from the national stockpile.

"We had to ask the national government for more ventilators. We have them now. We took some to St. Claire," said Beshear. "I believe [AdventHealth] Manchester needs a couple."

So, how many ventilators does Kentucky have?

Well, the number tends to fluctuate daily as patients are moved on and off of them.

On September 3rd, Kentucky's COVID-19 report said there were 865 occupied ventilators and 1,035 available ventilators. That would put Kentucky's total number of ventilators at 1,900.

However, it's important to note that all of these ventilators are not just for COVID patients. They're meant for all sorts of patients.

The state's current numbers show that out of the 865 Kentuckians on ventilators right now, 425 of them are COVID patients and 440 of them are on ventilators for other reasons.

On Thursday, the governor reminded people that Kentucky's hospital resources are needed for all sorts of emergency situations. So, he said if Kentucky's COVID numbers keep going up, the state will have fewer vents for emergency care.

"We've got so many people in the hospital, you think about other things you can run out of. We're seeing shortages of IV pumps and vital sign machines," said Beshear. "So, now it's impacting even the everyday operation of a hospital."

Beshear said the majority of Kentucky's hospitals are also dealing with critical staffing shortages because of COVID-19.