The recent deadly surge of COVID-19 cases has placed a tremendous strain on healthcare facilities across Kentucky, including Pikeville Medical Center (PMC).  With the rising numbers of positive cases, both in the PMC Emergency Department and in hospital admissions, concerns continued to grow about the health of the community, PMC employees and the hospital’s ability to maintain the workforce and resources needed.

On August 23rd, Governor Andy Beshear announced that the President extended reimbursement to states to mobilize National Guard personnel to support COVID-19 response efforts through the end of 2021. He then listed 3 Kentucky hospitals, including Pikeville Medical Center, receiving assistance from the Kentucky National Guard.

“In Kentucky, this means we’ll have our Kentucky Guardsmen continuing to help combat the surge we see due to the Delta variant,” said Gov. Beshear. “Our Kentucky Guardsmen have been on a mission since March 2020 to help our Commonwealth combat COVID-19, and we’re appreciative of their continued support.”

A total of 30 soldiers with the Kentucky National Guard began offering assistance at PMC on September 1st for an initial 30-day assignment to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

PMC President and CEO Donovan Blackburn addressed the group, expressing his gratitude to the men and women in uniform who will be providing much-needed assistance during the deadly surge of the COVID-19 Delta variant devastating Eastern Kentucky.

The Kentucky Army National Guard members are providing support services at the COVID-19 vaccine drive-thru, patient transportation, environmental services and other logistic and administrative roles.

“Having this extra manpower could not have come at a better time. Our team of heroes is doing a great job, but they are tired,” explained Blackburn. “It takes everyone giving 110%, from our physicians to our nurses and all other clinical staff to our environmental service and security personnel, to battle this deadly surge of the delta variant successfully.  We are very appreciative for Governor Beshear’s continued support he has shown repeatedly over the past 18 months.”