LEXINGTON — (TNS) Sixty-five percent of Kentucky’s nearly 100 hospitals are experiencing critical staffing shortages, Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday, and Kentucky has so far requested 40 additional ventilators from the national stockpile of medical supplies.

Sixty-two of the state’s 96 hospitals are in dire need of additional staff. “Not only do they not have enough staff, but they are terribly worried about [staffing for] the next day,” the governor said from the state Capitol.

On Wednesday, Kentucky reported 4,941 new cases — the third-highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic — and a statewide positivity rate of 13.35%. There were a record 2,267 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 644 in intensive care units and 410 on a ventilator.

In the last two months, coronavirus-related hospitalizations statewide have skyrocketed by more than 1,000% — a rate that has yet to plateau. “This cannot continue,” Beshear said. “If we [continue to] have this type of exponential growth, we’re out of everything.”

By Thursday afternoon, more than 89% of the state’s intensive care unit beds were occupied, leaving 160 available. Generally, hospitals continue to bow under the increasing strain of COVID-19 patients, forcing the state to contend not only with staffing and bed shortages, but with waning supplies. In addition to a shortage of ventilators, hospitals are running low on vital sign monitors and infusion pumps, Beshear said.

Earlier this week, more than 100 members of the Kentucky National Guard were deployed to four hospitals to supplement staffing as they care for an influx of COVID-19 patients. Beshear on Thursday said he has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for two teams of health care providers to administer monoclonal antibody treatments in Lexington for people recovering from the virus.

“We’re trying to see what we can take over in a hospital that frees up as many clinicians as possible, or [allows] the most experienced staff to take care of the sickest of patients,” he said.

The state previously asked FEMA for eight strike teams of eight registered nurses and two nursing assistants. FEMA has since said it will provide one strike team to St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, though the federal government has not said when those additional staff will arrive, Beshear said. St. Claire, like many Kentucky hospitals, is operating above its capacity.

Beshear also said he has requested two additional strike teams to support long-term care facilities, which are also reporting dire staffing shortages. Betsy Johnson, industry lobbyist and director of the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities and the Kentucky Center for Assisted Living, said Thursday that staffing shortages pre-dated the pandemic and have only gotten worse.

“Due to staffing shortages, some of our [facilities] are reporting that they’re shuttering their beds due to staffing concerns and are unable to accept transfers from our overwhelmed hospital systems,” Johnson told members of the Interim Joint Committee on Health, Welfare and Family Services.