Corbin mayor asks unvaccinated residents to ‘shelter in place’

Baptist Health Corbin's workers are "completely overrun, overwhelmed, and overworked," Mayor Suzie Razmus said in a video message to the community.

Voicing worry that Corbin’s regional hospital can’t cope with the raft of COVID-19 patients, Mayor Suzie Razmus is advising unvaccinated people to stay home.

“I just wanted to let everyone know what is going on in our hospital right now — what is going on in our community right now,” Razmus said in a Facebook video. “Please, if you are unvaccinated consider sheltering in place, wear a mask if you have to be out, socially distance yourself from people, and please consider getting vaccinated. Our rates are starting to go up but not fast enough, and the next two weeks are crucial.”

Razmus told the Corbin News Journal that her video “was born from a state of helplessness after speaking to health care workers” at Baptist Health Corbin, where more than half the patients have COVID-19, reporter Jennifer Perkins writes. The hospital’s chief medical officer, Dr. David Worthy, said the 273-bed facility has had to contact facilities as far away as Pittsburgh to find intensive care beds for patients.

Razmus started her video by saying, “I just wanted to take a moment to reach out to the community to talk about something that is very, very serious in our community right now. The COVID delta variant has run rampant, and it is getting very, very serious at our hospital right now. They are completely overrun, overwhelmed, and overworked. They are trying to save as many people as they can, but things are dire especially for the unvaccinated.”

Vaccination rates in the area are low. Knox County, which includes part of Corbin, has one of the lower rates in the state; only 32.2% of its residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, according to the state Department for Public Health’s COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard. Whitley County has 37.7% and Laurel County 38.4%.

Razmus urged her audience to get vaccinated against COVID-19. “I just don’t want to lose any more people in our community,” she said. “I understand if you feel nervous about getting the vaccine. To be honest, I was nervous about it too, but this is a very, very serious illness for people that are unvaccinated.”

Corbin mayor asks unvaccinated residents to ‘shelter in place’

Kentucky Health News

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.