Coronavirus Updates

Pikeville Medical Center doctors hold town hall answering questions about vaccines

Coronavirus in Kentucky

PIKEVILLE, KY (WOWK) — Covid cases continue to rise in Kentucky. As of Friday, all but five counties in the state are listed as red for high risk.

The Pikeville Medical Center held a town hall this week, answering questions employees had about vaccines. Dr. John Fleming, OD says the hospital currently has the capacity to treat patients but is running low on beds.

“We’re seeing increasing wait times for people to get into the emergency department and increasing times for them to get out of the emergency department,” he said. “We have a backlog of patients.”

Gov. Andy Beshear (D) is encouraging more Kentuckians to get vaccinated and is worried about the rise in cases, saying non-Covid-19 patients will suffer too.

“If we run out of beds for people that are injured or sick or have a heart attack, don’t we have to do something?” Beshear said. “Don’t we have to do something to make sure we’ve got that capacity for everybody?”

Doctors answered questions and concerns employees had about vaccines, stating that getting vaccinated is the safest way to prevent life-threatening illness.

“By taking the vaccine you cut down the risk of symptomatic infection by eight-fold,” Dr. Fadi Al Akhrass said. “You cut down the risk of hospitalization by 25-fold.”

With the delta variant surging, they’re seeing more younger people with no underlying health conditions in the hospital.

“They are way sicker, and they’re facing too much complications,” Al Akhrass said. “Immediately on oxygen, so I didn’t see that before.”

Beshear is thinking of the future impacts of the virus.

“Some people are worried about the vaccine,” he said. “We still don’t know so much about the long-term impacts of the virus but we know they have been really significant.”

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