Gov. Beshear signs executive order declaring nursing shortage an emergency


Frankfort, KY (WOWK) – Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has signed an order declaring the state’s nursing shortage in the midst of a deadly pandemic an emergency. The executive order is also designed to help nursing schools across the Bluegrass State enroll more students.

“Even before the pandemic hit, nursing shortages were a problem. Now the commonwealth and the nation are experiencing a dire shortage,” Beshear said. “This threatens not only the health of patients but the entire healthcare delivery system.”

Beshear says Kentucky healthcare facilities are currently operating 12-20% short of the needed nursing volume. Health officials say they project the state will need an additional 16,000 nurses by 2024.

According to the governor, the Board of Nursing to approve requests for increasing enrollment numbers for schools that show they have the resources to handle more students. Nursing schools will also be required to report their vacant student seats to the Board of Nursing every month. The board will then post those vacancies to their website.

Schools at capacity will also be required to refer new, qualified applicants to the schools with vacancies. Schools who believe they cannot handle full capacity due to lack of faculty must also provide a list to the Board of Nursing, the governor’s office and the Council on Post-Secondary Education so they can start looking to hire additional faculty as soon as possible.

Beshear says under the order, nurses with licenses in other states will also be allowed to come to Kentucky to practice.

The governor signed the order during today’s Team Kentucky update, where he also announced the latest COVID-19 vaccination information for the state.

As of Wednesday, Dec. 8, the state reported 3,032 new COVID-19 cases and 70 additional deaths, bringing the Bluegrass State to 805,426 cases and 11,418 deaths throughout the pandemic. Of the new COVID-19 cases, 798 were in children ages 18 or younger.

According to the Kentucky Department for Public Health, 1,144 Kentuckians are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those patients, 312 are in the ICU and 179 are on ventilators.

Kentucky’s current positivity rate is listed as 9.14%, with 105 of the state’s 120 counties in red. The state will update its COVID-19 data again at 4:45 p.m. this afternoon.

The KDPH says 2,712,835 Kentuckians have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, this totals 61% of the state’s overall population and 65% of those eligible for the shots.

The number of Kentuckians who have received at least one dose of a vaccine broken down by age group includes:

  • 75+ years: 91%
  • 65-74 years: 95%
  • 50-64 years: 78%
  • 40-49 years: 68%
  • 25-39 years: 59%
  • 18-24 years: 51%
  • 16-17 years: 48%
  • 12 – 15 years: 44%
  • 5-11 years: 13%

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