Overwhelmed Kentucky Hospitals Fear Worst As Federal Covid-19 Assistance To Leave Friday


One of the hardest hit is Morehead Hospital, about 65 miles east of Lexington, due to the influx of Covid-19 patients. It is the largest healthcare facility serving 11 counties in rural Northeast Kentucky and – last week – was 130% above capacity, according to St. Claire Health Care CEO Donald Lloyd. .

“The only reason we’re holding this lifeboat together is that I have a Federal Disaster Medical Assistance team here, 14 people who have just been heroes to us. And, sadly, their deployment was completed on Friday, “Dr. William Melah, chief medical officer for St. Claire Health Care, told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on Monday. “I’m going to lose 14 medical professionals and I literally have no idea what we’re going to do on Friday.”

Gov. Andy Beshear said in a Covid-19 briefing Monday that Kentucky hospitals “are struggling more today than at any other time in the pandemic.” For this reason, Beshear said about 400 National Guard soldiers will be deployed to 25 hospitals in the state.

“This is, I think, the largest deployment for a healthcare crisis in the history of our Commonwealth,” Beshear said. “Every hospital they go to talks about not only how it’s a moral boost, but it really helps the operation and it allows them to provide more care to more patients.”

An “army of nursing students” is also being dispatched across the state, the governor said.

In St. Claire, there are currently five EMS teams and a Federal Emergency Management Agency medical team, Beshear said.

“We will continue to look for other ways to help,” Beshear said.

While the hospital hangs by a thread, Melah assured the St. Clair community not to refuse anyone.

“We’re going to have to… (I) don’t know what we’re going to do,” he said. “I really don’t want to answer that question now because it’s so disturbing.”

Last week, the situation in St. Clair was so bad that some non-Covid patients waited 24 hours for care or until someone got better or died, Melah said.

As of Monday afternoon, Kentucky had more than 620,000 cases of Covid-19 and more than 8,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. About 50% of the state’s population is vaccinated.

Melah also pointed out that medical workers are not angry with patients, but rather those who have manipulated them into believing that vaccines are not safe or that they are more dangerous than being infected with Covid. -19.

“They hear this from experts, they hear from politicians and social media. And we’re not here to be mad at them,” Melah said. “There is actually one enemy and only one thing to be mad at and that is the coronavirus. It is the real enemy. And we are at war with the coronavirus.”

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