By Eugenia Jones
As hospital employees continue to battle against surging numbers of COVID-19 cases, two area hospitals are among twenty-one hospitals statewide to receive extra assistance from the Kentucky National Guard.
Last week, Governor Andy Beshear announced the Guard will assist with nonclinical duties, freeing hospitals employees to concentrate on patients.
Members of the Kentucky National Guard arrived earlier this week at Baptist Health Hospital in Corbin and Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset. CHI Saint Joseph Health in London is also receiving assistance from Kentucky’s National Guard.
On Tuesday morning, twelve members of the National Guard completed their orientation at Corbin’s Baptist Health Hospital and began providing support during the surge of COVID-19 by assisting with non-clinical duties such as screenings, security, food service, etc. On Tuesday, Baptist Health was completely filled with patients.
Executive Director, Baptist Health Corbin stated, “During the patient surge, our staff throughout the hospital are working extra shifts and performing extra tasks to meet the needs of the patients. The assistance of the Kentucky National Guard will help reduce some of their work- load during this difficult time. We offer our sincere thanks to the Kentucky National Guard.”
Likewise, at Somerset’s Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital, fifteen members of the Guard arrived to assist with non-clinical duties for thirty-one days.
“Like most facilities in our region and across the state, Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital is experiencing significant staffing shortages in certain departments as we continue to manage a high volume of patients and diligently search for qualified candidates for these openings,” CEO Robert Parker stated. “In coordination with the Kentucky Department for Public Health, these service men and women will help alleviate staffing pressure by assisting with non-clinical duties for the next thirty-one days. We are extremely grateful to these individuals for their service and support.”
As of Tuesday, Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital reported caring for more than 30 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.
On Wednesday morning, the most current Lake Cumberland Health Department Daily News Briefing reported 81 active cases in McCreary County with one of those cases currently hospitalized. Twenty-six of the 81 current active cases were added on Tuesday. The daily briefing indicated a total of 2,831 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in McCreary County since the pandemic began with thirty-seven total deaths.
McCreary County’s vaccination rate has increased significantly jumping from tenth (of ten counties) in the Lake Cumberland Health District to fifth in vaccination uptake rates. McCreary County’s vaccination uptake rate on Wednesday morning was listed as 39.69%.
Due to the continued increase in positive COVID-19 cases it may be several days before individuals who test positive at a doctor’s office are notified by the Health Department. If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19, please isolate yourself immediately. Do NOT wait on a call from the health department. Please notify anyone you may have been in contact with so they can begin quarantine.
If you have tested positive or been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19, please go to https://www.lcdhd.org/ and click on “Have you tested positive or been exposed to COVID-19? Click here.” for directions on steps you should take to protect yourself and others.
In the meantime, vaccinated and unvaccinated are asked to take precautions such as masking up, avoiding crowds as much as possible, washing hands with soap and water often and thoroughly, staying home if sick, increasing sanitation, and avoiding touching the face. Unvaccinated individuals are encouraged to get vaccinated.