Gov. Beshear: FEMA Strike Teams, Kentucky National Guard Assisting Hospitals as COVID-19 Cases Surge

The Governor will request additional long-term care nurses, assistance with monoclonal antibody injections

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 2, 2021) – On Thursday during his weekly Team Kentucky update, Gov. Andy Beshear said Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) strike teams and Kentucky National Guard members are assisting Kentucky hospitals in need during the surge of COVID-19 cases sparked by the delta variant.

“With hospital staff and resources stretched thin, we need this additional help, and we thank all those serving on the front lines,” said Gov. Beshear.

He added: “Kentucky’s brave National Guard members have stood up to fight this virus since the beginning. From helping with testing efforts, to administering vaccines and now helping our health care heroes, their dedication to the people of the commonwealth has undoubtedly made a difference.”

Kentucky health care heroes shared their experiences in two of the state’s hospitals, emphasizing their need for additional support.

“Without a doubt, cases of COVID-19 have increased significantly in our hospital and our community. Like every other health care facility in Kentucky, Lake Cumberland is operating at the very edge of our capacity,” said Dr. Ted Qualls, emergency medicine physician at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital. “Our team has been working tirelessly to care for our community, and we ask that the community please be patient and understanding as we work to respond to this surge with all of our available resources. Vaccination is the primary way we will avoid further overwhelming the health care system here at home, in our region and across the state.”

“I hear a lot that children aren’t getting affected by COVID. That’s no longer true,” said Dr. Beth Brooks, pediatrics, T.J. Regional Health in Glasgow. “Right now, they’re getting just as sick as adults. They’re ending up in the same ICUs. They’re on ventilators. They are getting treated the best we can, but they are getting sick.”

FEMA Medical Strike Teams Assist Kentucky Hospitals During COVID-19 Surge
Gov. Beshear updated Kentuckians on the status of FEMA strike teams his administration has requested or will request soon to assist strained Kentucky hospitals.

Emergency Medical Services Teams
Gov. Beshear said three FEMA Emergency Medical Services (EMS) strike teams are onsite in Kentucky tasked with transfers and transporting COVID-19 patients. The EMS strike teams are being managed by the Kentucky Board of Emergency Management Services (KBEMS) through American Medical Response.

Each team is comprised of five advanced life support ambulances and each ambulance is staffed with one paramedic and one emergency medical technician (EMT). Each strike team is positioned regionally, in Somerset, Prestonsburg and Louisville. They are centrally dispatched and can respond to any area in the state.

The Governor will continue to monitor the availability of teams.

Monoclonal Antibody Injection Teams
The Governor said a resource request form will soon be submitted to FEMA seeking two monoclonal COVID-19 antibody injection teams to administer the antibodies subcutaneously (applied under the skin, rather than through an infusion) to Kentuckians infected with the virus.

Long-Term Care Nurse Strike Teams
The Governor said two long-term care nurse strike teams are being developed by the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s Healthcare-Associated Infections program.

New Kentucky National Guard COVID-19 Mission
The Governor said as Kentucky hospitals continue to face challenges from the surge of the COVID-19 delta variant, his administration is working to ensure they have the support they need.

In total, 105 Kentucky National Guardsmen have been deployed for a new COVID-19 response mission, in seven teams of 15. So far, hospitals that have received Kentucky National Guard assistance include: St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, Appalachian Regional Healthcare in Hazard, The Medical Center at Bowling Green and Pikeville Medical Center.

“We are pleased to have the temporary assistance of 30 members of the National Guard who arrived at the Medical Center at Bowling Green Aug. 31. These men and women are serving in various general, non-clinical and non-administrative capacities throughout our facility. Their assistance and service is much appreciated and will offer relief to our staff. We are so very grateful,” The Medical Center at Bowling Green leadership team said in a statement.

The Governor extended an executive order prohibiting price-gouging. To report price-gouging to the attorney general’s office, click here.

The Governor signed an executive order that extends previous orders allowing pharmacists to dispense 30-day refills.

Team Kentucky All-Stars
Earlier this week, the Governor shared a story from a weekend event where Galen College of Nursing stepped up and offered to support health care heroes during the current COVID-19 surge. Today, Gov. Beshear welcomed the college’s chief executive officer, Mark Vogt; Dean of the Kentucky Campus, Lisa Peak; Dr. Brittney Welch, DNP, RN, director of clinical education; and three students: Sophia Allen, Jaquar Morris and Sabrina Hale.

Nursing students from Galen will be joining hospitals and health care teams in need by offering assistance with testing, clinical needs and other services.

“This will make a huge difference in our fight against COVID, while also offering these students real-life training,” said Gov. Beshear. “Thank you. What you and these students are doing is the true spirit of Team Kentucky. We are grateful for your bravery and dedication to caring for our people, supporting our health care teams and furthering education in such a critical field. For that, I am honored to name Galen College of Nursing’s students and staff this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.”

“Never before in our history have we seen a need for nursing care like we are seeing today. We are receiving calls daily from our clinical partners around the commonwealth in dire need of nursing staff,” said Vogt. “We acknowledged at Galen College early on that we wanted to do our part. As nurse educators, we feel like it is our obligation and opportunity to give this time for our students to provide that support. In these most vulnerable times, Galen students have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours supporting the commonwealth. We’ve delivered over 100,000 vaccinations with our partnership with the Kentucky Nursing Association. We’ve administered thousands of tests related to COVID for our students, and we’re continuing to do that today.”

Kentucky’s Economic Momentum Grows Despite COVID-19 Challenges
Even though COVID-19 is surging in the commonwealth, Gov. Beshear said Kentucky’s economic momentum continues to grow.

  • School Districts Awarded $75 Million to Upgrade Vocational Education Centers: In another significant step forward in his Better Kentucky Plan, which is creating jobs and opportunities in every corner of the commonwealth, yesterday Gov. Beshear announced $75 million has been approved to go to Kentucky school districts to fund renovation projects at Local Area Vocational Education Centers. To learn more, see the full release.
  • Gov. Beshear: Martinrea to Expand Hopkinsville Facility, Create 33 Jobs: Martinrea Hopkinsville LLC, a Tier 1 automotive supplier of lightweight structures and propulsion systems, will expand its presence in Christian County with an investment of more than $31 million that will create 33 quality job opportunities, Gov. Beshear announced this week. To learn more, see the full release.
  • Setco To Relocate Headquarters to Boone County, Create 30 Well-Paying Jobs: Setco Sales Co., a manufacturer of spindles and other precision parts and specialty products for the automotive and aerospace industries, will relocate its headquarters to Boone County and create 30 quality jobs in the coming years, Gov. Beshear announced this week. To learn more, see the full release.