Kentucky National Guard troops sent to UK Hospital to help

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 11:21 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Help has arrived for UK HealthCare.

Monday, UK officials announced five members from the Kentucky National Guard have been deployed to assist the staff.

UK says they’re overrun with COVID-19 patients, they’re dealing with a bed shortage and a staff shortage.

The guard troops will be assisting with non clinical administrative support at UK Hospital.

“We got some working in transport where they actually take patients from their rooms down to MRI, an ultrasound, things of that nature,” said Sgt. Christopher Watkins.

UK HealthCare officials say they’re seeing higher COVID-19 numbers than ever before. They’re worried about hospital capacity and if they’ll have enough staff to treat patients.

Officials told us last week there were more than 150 patients in the hospital being treated for COVID-19, 15 were children.

Officials say this is putting a strain on hospital resources.

Many non-ICU beds have been moved to the ICU. The hospital is also facing a nurse shortage. Officials are worried that if help doesn’t come soon, non-Covid patients may not get the help they need.

“When you have waited for a long time to have your knee replaced and we have to call and say ‘I’m sorry we’re going to have to push your surgery out 12 weeks,’ that really affects your life too, even if you’ve done everything right and been vaccinated,” said Dr. Ashley Montgomery-Yates, UK HealthCare Chief Medical Officer for Inpatient and Emergency Services.

National Guard troops are also working at Baptist Health, CHI St. Joseph, and St. Claire hospitals.

The Kentucky National Guard will assist UK Hospital for about two weeks, but they’ll stay longer if needed.

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