KY National Guard mobilized to assist long-term care facilities

Gov. Andy Beshear has mobilized 50 members of the Kentucky National Guard to help long-term care facilities across the state in response to the influx of COVID-19 cases.

These service members will be a part of 10 different non-clinical support teams spread throughout the commonwealth, who will respond to requests for help from the public health districts to Kentucky’s emergency management office.

“The Kentucky National Guard is poised to help long-term healthcare facilities across the state, who are operating in counties in the red due to COVID-19 saturation,” said Lt. Col. Travis Carpenter, Kentucky National Guard director of Military Support. “Our professional team of service members will operate within agreed-upon constraints to help facility leadership free their current employees up to focus on the residents who call the facilities home.”

The Guard has already been utilized in several missions across the state since the start of the pandemic.

“We are taking over duties like guest relations, COVID screening and facility decontamination,” Carpenter said. “These are types of things that we might be able to alleviate from healthcare providers so they can focus on the residents and conduct quality medical and wellness care.”

The activation of the 50 members comes as healthcare facilities across the Bluegrass are near operational capacity levels the state has not witnessed since the beginning of the pandemic, as well as the strain on workers at those facilities.

“Currently we’re answering the call for assistance from facilities in Lexington, Louisville, Edmonton and Hopkinsville,” said Brig Gen. Hal Lamberton, Kentucky’s adjutant general. “We recognize the need could come from anywhere in the state, and we will adjust our focus and effort as the requests for help arrive.”

The Kentucky National Guard mobilized in March to assist the state with its response to COVID-19 and has been serving in a variety of missions since the activation, including helping establish a large field hospital at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, which fortunately was not used and disassembled, but is ready to be reestablished, if needed.

The current mission is designed to assist long-term healthcare facilities across the state and is expected to continue for at least 30 days.

According to Lamberton, “Since the start of this pandemic, the Kentucky Guard has been, and will continue to be, an effective organization aimed at responding to our fellow Kentuckians and aiding in the governor’s efforts to stomp out the spread of COVID-19.”

Tom Latek, Kentucky Today