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While COVID Patient Numbers Could Be Stabilizing, Ky. Hospitals Are Seeing More In ICU

Josh James

As Kentucky health officials begin to talk about a possible leveling off of COVID-19 cases, a top hospital authority says it may not translate to much relief for healthcare providers and frontline workers in the near term.

Any mentions of a decelerating trend in cases in Kentucky tend to come loaded with lots of caveats — it's extremely early, the Delta variant is less predictable, and even a flattening of cases would still be unsustainable for hospitals in the commonwealth.

Nancy Galvagni, president of the Kentucky Hospital Association, told lawmakers Wednesday that the seriousness of the cases can cancel out the benefit from a resources point of view.

"Some hospitals have begun, just late last week, to see a very slight decline in the number of COVID-19 patients. Unfortunately all of those same hospitals report they are seeing even higher ICU use for COVID patients, and that most of the COVID patients (in the ICU) are on ventilators," she testified. "So while we might soon be approaching a plateau, that shouldn't be taken (to mean) that we are coming out of the woods."

To complicate matters, the new federal rationing of monoclonal antibody treatments could also drive up hospitalizations as more sick Kentuckians are potentially denied the infusions.

Galvani said roughly 95% of Kentucky COVID patients in the ICU are unvaccinated.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.