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Kentucky deploys National Guard to help overburdened hospitals statewide

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | September 16, 2021
Kentucky has deployed over 400 of its National Guardsmen at 25 hospitals throughout the state
In response to the latest COVID-19 surge, the state of Kentucky has mobilized its National Guard inside the walls of its hospitals.

An additional 310 individuals from the Kentucky National Guard have been assigned logistical roles in 21 hospitals. "I believe this is the largest deployment of the Guard in the crisis health care situation in our history," Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said in a press conference last week, according to NBC-affiliate, LEX18.

Hospitals receiving a helping hand from the Guard include those in Paducah, Louisville, Elizabethtown, Corbin, Lexington, Bowling Green, Prestonsburg and other cities. Members will help with non-medical logistical and administrative tasks, including scheduling appointments, cleaning beds and serving and clearing food.

Teams vary in size and length of time in their deployment depending on hospital size and demand but will stay as long as they can, according to ABC News.

The Guard previously deployed over 100 members at Bowling Green Medical Center, Hazard ARH, Pikeville Medical Center and St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead and will continue to use them at these locations, reports LEX18.

“In coordination with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, we’ve now mobilized more than 400 soldiers and airmen to help provide logistical and administrative support to 25 hospitals across the commonwealth,” said Brig. Gen. Bryan Howay, director of the joint staff for the Kentucky National Guard.

Surges in COVID-19 and Delta variant cases have left providers with fully packed ICUs and no bed space available. Many also do not have enough staff members to manage the high number of patients coming in, and have been forced to suspend non-urgent and elective procedures and surgeries temporarily until the surge subsides.

Other states, over the last few weeks, have called on their own National Guard to assist hospitals. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued an order in late August to deploy over 100 National Guardsmen to help, according to The Hill. And just this past week, Governor Bill Lee mobilized roughly 200 troops to do the same at 20 hospitals in Tennessee, reported ABC affiliate, WKRN-TV in Nashville.

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