Coronavirus

More than a quarter of COVID-19 tests in Kentucky are now coming back positive, and the state is sending more Kentucky National Guard members to help in crowded hospitals. 

Gov. Andy Beshear reported Monday a positivity rate of over 26%. There were over 52,000 new cases last week, toppling the previous record by around 22,000. 

“Omicron continues to burn through the Commonwealth, growing at levels we have never seen before,” Beshear said.

Hospitalizations have increased by 17 percent over the past week and around a third of Kentucky hospitals are now reporting critical staffing shortages. 

“Hospitalizations are absolutely being impacted,” Beshear said. “Our hospitals are now filling up. [COVID] is now increasing pretty significantly and if we continue that trajectory, all of our beds will be filled very soon.”

State leaders say the influx of people in the hospital also affects those with other life-threatening illnesses. ER wait times have increased, and some rural hospitals are reporting being unable to find beds at other facilities for patients who need more high-level care. 

As of Monday, there were 134 adult ICU beds available in the state. 

Beshear urged continued vaccinations and booster shots as omicron spreads. Around 63% of all Kentucky residents have received at least their first dose of a vaccine; 21% are fully vaccinated and boosted. 

To register for a vaccine or find a testing location, visit kycovid19.ky.gov.

Aprile Rickert is WFPL's health reporter.