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‘It’s a war that we’re fighting’: Kentucky National Guard deployed to Pike County hospital after influx of COVID-19 cases

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 7:49 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - 30 Kentucky National Guard soldiers have been stationed at Pikeville Medical Center for 30 days to assist with the hospital’s fight against the pandemic.

“We have 30 soldiers that have been assigned to us,” said PMC President and CEO Donovan Blackburn. “We expect them to be here for at least a month.”

These 30 soldiers that were deployed to the frontlines of the pandemic seek to assist the hospital with non-clinical roles to ensure trained medical professionals can focus on the life-saving work they were trained to do.

“Them [the soldiers] being here is huge for us,” said Blackburn. “30 hands on deck helping us fight this pandemic ensuring that we’re able to take care of more patients that certainly need services is extremely important.”

The soldiers will be focusing their efforts on the hospital’s transportation of patients, janitorial duties, and traffic control.

“It really is a war that we’re fighting against COVID,” said Cpt. Kerby Schwer, Officer in Command of the Kentucky National Guard’s COVID Response Team at PMC. “This is causing so many deaths all the time across the whole commonwealth, across the entire nation.”

This is some of the soldiers’ first deployment in assisting with COVID-19 relief, which some say is an honor and privilege to assist in.

“Our chance to actually engage in this fight and to beat back such a public health menace,” said Cpt. Schwer “It is an absolute honor and privilege that I’m very glad to have a hand in.”

Cpt. Schwer also says the soldiers’ ultimate goal is to see that they had made a positive impact in mitigating the pandemic.

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