Kentucky National Guard to be deployed to Jennie Stuart

A surge in cases of the delta variant has prompted an unrelenting stream of COVID-19 patients at Jennie Stuart unlike ever before.

This story is part of an occasional series from Hoptown Chronicle about how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting Jennie Stuart Medical Center. See more coverage.

Jennie Stuart Medical Center will soon receive some much-needed support.

On Monday, 11 members of the Kentucky National Guard will begin providing non-clinical assistance at Hopkinsville’s hospital, spokesman Chris Jung announced in a news release on Friday.

A surge in cases of the delta variant has prompted an unrelenting stream of COVID-19 patients at Jennie Stuart unlike ever before.

The average number of patients hospitalized with coronavirus at the health care facility has been at least 25 for the last 47 days. Previously, the longest continuous period with the same level of COVID-19 admissions was the 18-day stretch from Jan. 3 and 20. On Friday morning, there were 36 patients hospitalized with the virus, spokeswoman Jayme Tubbs told Hoptown Chronicle.

Command Sgt. Maj. Aaron Lester, of the 201st Engineer Battalion, thanks soldiers at Pikeville Medical Center in Pikeville, Kentucky, on Sept. 18, 2021. The Kentucky National Guard has been requested to provide support to hospital staff across the commonwealth. (Photo by Sgt. Matt Damon, U.S. Army National Guard)

The most recent surge has overwhelmed hospitals across the state.

On Friday, nine of 10 regions across the state were using more than 88% of their intensive care beds, according to data from the Kentucky Department of Public Health. In the region that includes Christian County, 98.65% of ICU beds were in use — up from 94% on Thursday. Data provided locally and from the state shows that the vast majority of patients have been unvaccinated.

In an effort to relieve stress on Kentucky’s overwhelmed health care system, Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Sept. 2 that members of the Kentucky National Guard had been deployed to several hospitals in the commonwealth. As of Sept. 23, the state had deployed 505 Guardsmen to 29 hospitals throughout Kentucky.

According to the news release from Jennie Stuart, Guard members will be dressed in their duty uniform and will provide assistance to multiple departments with non-medical, logistical and administrative tasks. They are expected to stay about two weeks.

They also will be required to follow specific guidelines during their time at the hospital and will not be able to act as security, provide patient care or come into contact with a patient known to have COVID-19.

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Julia Hunter | Hoptown Chronicle

Julia Hunter is co-founder and engagement editor of Hoptown Chronicle. She began her journalism career as a reporter and news editor at the Kentucky New Era and now lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where she serves as the membership & communications director for the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. Reach her at julia@hoptownchronicle.org and find her on Twitter at @JuliaMHunter.