Kentucky National Guard members to work at local hospitals

Kentucky National Guard members will arrive at both Baptist Health Paducah and Mercy Health-Lourdes Hospital Wednesday to assist staff with non-clinical duties.

Kentucky National Guard members will arrive at both of Paducah’s hospitals Wednesday to assist staff with non-clinical services.

Fifteen guard members will work at Baptist Health Paducah, and 20-30 will work at Mercy Health-Lourdes Hospital.

The additions are part of a move by the Kentucky National Guard to expand its role in assisting hospitals with non-medical logistical and administrative tasks during the surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the state. The guard announced Monday it activated 310 more members to assist 21 hospitals in Kentucky, including Mercy Health-Lourdes Hospital and Baptist Health Paducah. In total, more than 400 members are working in 25 hospitals throughout the state.

Gov. Andy Beshear said last Thursday he believes this is the “largest deployment of the guard in a health crisis situation” in Kentucky’s history.

Guard members at both hospitals are focusing on clerical tasks, cleaning tasks and assisting patients in non-clinical services. Neither hospital will have guard members working with COVID-19 patients.

Some members of the National Guard assigned to Mercy Health-Lourdes Hospital will help clean and housekeep in non-COVID areas of the hospital, which Mercy Health spokeswoman Nanette Bentley said would help the hospital’s housekeeping team focus on cleaning COVID patient rooms and floors. Other National Guard members will help the hospital with materials management, stocking supplies, keeping track of personal protective equipment counts and transporting non-COVID discharged patients to their cars.

Guard members assigned to Baptist Health Paducah will be placed in “non-clinical administrative and logistics roles,” including screening and visitor management, materials management, environmental services and non-clinical patient support services, Baptist spokeswoman Laura Grumley told The Sun.

ICU capacity in Region 1, which includes McCracken County, was more than 80% on Tuesday, per a report from the Cabinet of Health and Family Services. Of that, 43.7% of ICU beds are being used to treat COVID patients.

Region 1 is one of three of the state’s 10 regions in the report to have fewer than 90% of ICU capacity in use. Two regions, Regions 6 and 10, reported 100% ICU capacity Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, Baptist Health Paducah is treating 42 COVID-19 patients, Grumley told The Sun. Out of those patients, 36, or about 86% of the total COVID-19 patients hospitalized there, are unvaccinated. Seventeen COVID-19 patients, including 15 unvaccinated patients, are in the ICU, and six patients, all unvaccinated, are on ventilators.

Bentley said Mercy Health-Lourdes hospital is treating 37 COVID-19 patients as of Tuesday, with 14 in critical care. She said the hospital is “very busy” but wanted to emphasize the hospital will continue to care for patients that go there for assistance.

Follow Hannah Saad on Twitter, @ByHannahSaad or on Facebook at facebook.com/hannahsaadpaducahsun.

Follow Hannah Saad on Twitter, @ByHannahSaad or on Facebook at facebook.com/hannahsaadpaducahsun.

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