FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT/WAVE) – Gov. Andy Beshear held another Team Kentucky Update Thursday.

This week’s update came amid a special session of the General Assembly the governor called for over the weekend to address COVID-related issues. Thursday is the special session’s third day.

Gov. Beshear began his Team Kentucky update Thursday on a grim note. He said 60 of the state’s 96 hospitals are operating under critical staffing shortages.

“Our hospital situation has never been more dire in my lifetime than it is right now,” Beshear said. “We cannot handle more sick individuals.”

The governor also said Thursday the state currently has fewer ICU beds available than it has at any other point during the pandemic, now 18 months in.

Beshear said he has called the Kentucky National Guard in to 21 more hospitals around the state to offer logistical and administrative support. The Kentucky National Guard already has been assisting at hospitals in Morehead, Hazard, Bowling Green and Pikeville, but will now help at a total of 24 hospitals across Kentucky. Baptist Health locations in Louisville and Elizabethtown, as well as UofL Hospital, are among the local hospitals where guardsmen and women will be assisting.

“This shows that every hospital is bursting at the seams,” said Beshear, who added that a total of more than 400 Kentucky National Guard members will be part of the effort. “They’re always there in times of need. Thank you again for stepping up.”

Beshear also announced three new COVID-19 testing sites will be opening in Covington, Danville, and Pineville.

The governor said more than 2.5 million Kentuckians have received at least one shot of the COVID vaccine, then broke that number down into age groups:

Total eligible population (18 years and older): 70% vaccinated

  • Ages 65+: 86% vaccinated
  • Ages 50-64: 62% vaccinated
  • Ages 40-49: 60% vaccinated
  • Ages 30-39: 55% vaccinated
  • Ages 18-29: 44% vaccinated