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LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Hospitals across Kentucky are filling up, and the numbers are getting worse.

Tuesday, more than 2,000 people were being treated for COVID-19 in Kentucky hospitals. That’s higher than it’s ever been at any other point in the pandemic. And the surge has led hospital workers to plead with people to take steps to stop the spread.

Hospital leaders say they don’t have enough staff to handle more patients. One of the nurses FOX 56 talked to is immunocompromised and has already had her COVID-19 booster shot.

Healthcare workers have told FOX 56 if more Kentuckians were willing to get the vaccine, we could’ve avoided a lot of the mess we’re in today.

“A couple months ago, we were actually ecstatic because we went quite a few weeks without any COVID patients,” said Joy Murphy, RN at Baptist Health.

And then, the delta variant starting filling hospitals and taxing resources.

“We have other states that are much worse than us. But sometime, it’s just a matter of time before that is happening here,” Dr. Yuri Villaran at Baptist Health said.

The doctors and nurses taking care of these patients tell FOX 56 most of them are unvaccinated, and all of them are scared.

They are isolated. They can’t breathe. They’ve had doctors, nurses, everybody telling them, ‘Well if this doesn’t work, we’ll have to put a tube in your throat and put you on a machine,’ and that scares them to death. There’s so many thing that scares them, but I think the number one thing is the inability to get their breath.

Joy Murphy, RN at Baptist Health

“There’s a desperation there that you cannot get enough air. And no matter how much oxygen we give you, you still feel that feeling. Dying, the feeling of dying,” said Dr. Villaran.

Murphy told FOX 56 she considers spending time with them part of her job, since they aren’t allowed to have visitors. She’s also had some patients ask if they could get their COVID-19 vaccine now.

“They shouldn’t have to be going through that. And I think that’s what they, I wonder deep down that’s what they’re feeling, ‘I wish I’d gotten my shot. I wouldn’t be gasping for breath.’ Because they really are, if you could just see their faces. They’re so frightened,” Murphy shared.

Dr. Villaran said that vaccine is the only way he sees out of these rising numbers.

“But the people who are not vaccinated, are the ones that are getting sicker. And they are also the ones that keeps letting this virus replicate and replicate and expand to somebody else including the vaccinated people,” Dr. Villaran said.

The chief nursing officer here at Baptist Health told FOX 56 they’ve also had some issues with employees having to miss work because their kids have had to quarantine after exposure at school.

Baptist Health Lexington currently has 64 COVID-19 patients with 10 in the ICU.