MOREHEAD, Ky. -- Additional help has arrived in Morehead. It's at one of the several hospitals across the state that has seen a surge in admissions for patients battling with COVID-19.
"I'm a major with the Kentucky National Guard and I'm here with a COVID-19 response team that has been directed from the governor," said Major Michael Wayne.
Fifteen Kentucky National Guard members along with Maj. Wayne are helping this week and beyond at St. Claire Regional Medical Center by providing nonclinical support and redirecting resources.
"Our duties include everything from taking temperatures and asking visitors question of questionnaire as to whether they're having COVID[-19] symptoms, working with the Emergency Department in the tent that you see behind me, manning that desk, and also creating new wards for patients," Maj. Wayne said.
As of Tuesday, the hospital had 84 COVID-19 patients with at least 40 hospitalized sending the service members to help create more space in the hospital.
"We’ve taken a decommissioned ward if you will that has been used for storage for a few years and we’ve turned basically in back into another ICU ward," Maj. Wayne said. "And no sooner than we finished they were putting patients in the ward."
Earlier this week, health care teams expanded to a field hospital in the parking lot to combat the surge of COVID-19 cases.
"So when this goes operational what this is for is when the Emergency Room becomes overflow," Maj. Wayne said. "Instead of having patients wait in their vehicles until they can be triage that the ER patients will wait in here."
In the short time of serving at the hospital, Major Wayne said the situation is dire. Several times they have heard over the intercom a message similar to this: "Covid unit ICU 4th floor."
"You know what has struck my soldiers the most is when they hear over the intercom, that there's a medical assistance needed on the COVID[-19] floor, there's a medical emergency on the COVID[-19] floor, and you know at that time someone's having difficulty breathing, they're going to be intubated they're going to be put on a ventilator, and we've heard that five times over the intercom already this morning," Maj. Wayne said.
The Kentucky National Guard says members are also helping hospitals in Pikeville, Bowling Green, and Hazard.