Officials from The Medical Center at Bowling Green and T.J. Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow said Friday both facilities had the lowest COVID-19 patient numbers in more than two months.

Med Center Health Executive Vice President Wade Stone said the hospital had 27 COVID-19 inpatients, while T.J. Regional Health Executive Vice President of Marketing Stacey Biggs said they only had 18 such patients.

While Stone said the The Medical Center at Bowling Green and its critical care unit were still at capacity, the number is a drastic decrease from the 79 individuals with the virus at the hospital Sept. 10.

Biggs said the Glasgow hospital had 44 COVID-10 patients just one month ago. The last day they saw numbers in the teens was on Aug. 6.

“We still have patients holding for placement right now,” Stone said. “But, as our COVID records have come down, we are very encouraged by that trend. Although we are still at capacity, we are very encouraged by these numbers.”

“Needless to say we are feeling very hopeful at this point,” Biggs said. “It’s a palpable feeling that things are looking up. There is a much more positive vibe in the hospital. It just feels like things are truly moving in the right direction.”

Of The Medical Center at Bowling Green’s 27 COVID-19 patients, 18 are unvaccinated, 12 are in critical care and 11 are on ventilators. Two individuals on ventilators are vaccinated.

Only one of T.J. Samson Community Hospital’s COVID-19 patients is vaccinated, and that person is also in the ICU. Altogether, seven individuals are in the ICU and five are on ventilators.

Another positive trend noticed by both officials is the influx of staff returning from absences related to the virus.

Stone said they have less than 30 workers out due to COVID-19, and that number was in the 90s just a few weeks ago.

Biggs said as of Friday, the hospital only had 10 staff members out with illness. The positivity rate at T.J. Samson Community Hospital also went down from 18.4% last week to 12.4% this week.

“The vaccination rate is improving a little bit every day,” she said. “To be honest, it’s still not improving at a rate that we would hope. But it is getting better. As long as it continues to get better – that’s a good sign.”

Both Biggs and Stone are still worried numbers could rise in the future due to disappointing vaccination numbers and many families currently traveling for fall break.

“Our concern right now is people will see the hospitalization numbers come down and take that as a sign people can become relaxed, and there is no reason to get vaccinated,” Stone said. “Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s even more reason to go and get vaccinated. Everyone’s concern is that we find ourselves dealing with another variant at some point.”

“We are definitely not letting our guard down yet,” Biggs said. “Spikes tend to happen after holidays and breaks where people are gathering. As more people keep getting vaccinated, hopefully that keeps another spike from happening.”

Stone said Med Center Health has now administered 95,646 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. That number includes 3,004 booster shots the corporation recently began providing as well.

The CDC recommends the following groups should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after completing their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series: People aged 65 years and older, residents aged 18 years and older in long-term care settings and people aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions.

The booster shot is available by appointment only and is administered at The Medical Center-WKU Health Sciences Complex. To make an appointment, text COVID to 270-796-4400.

T.J. Samson Community Hospital also recently began a pilot program so COVID-19 patients can have visitors. The program provides chaperone visitation, and visitors are given full personal protective equipment to visit with their loved ones.

The latest update from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Human Services on Friday showed all but 16 counties in the state are marked red for having a “critical” COVID incidence rate.

Of the 10 counties in the Barren River region, only two had a vaccination rate of at least 50%: Simpson and Logan. Butler, Warren, Barren, Monroe and Allen counties all have a vaccination rate of at least 40%.

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.