HHS sends disaster medical assistance team to St. Claire HealthCare

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At the request of the State of Kentucky, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deployed a team of medical professionals from its National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) to St. Claire HealthCare to safely support the influx of COVID patients at St. Claire’s Regional Medical Center in Morehead.

“We are very grateful for the overwhelming support we have received from Governor Andy Beshear throughout the pandemic,” said Donald H. Lloyd, II, President and CEO of CHS. “The leadership of Governor Beshear and Dr. Steven Stack has guided us through these difficult times, ensuring that St. Claire’s doors remain open to care for our patients when they need us most.”

The Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), which helps communities respond to and recover from emergencies and disasters of public health.

The 15-person NDMS team includes a doctor, advanced healthcare practitioners, nurses, other clinical specialists and administrative support specialists who will work with local staff to provide short-term support and provide expertise to help SCH better manage the current increase in COVID-positive patients.

“We have a great team at SCH, but everyone is tired. While we know this assistance will be temporary, it will provide our clinical staff with much-needed and well-deserved relief,” said Lloyd. “We are very grateful to HHS for granting Governor Beshear’s request on our behalf.”

NDMS personnel normally deploy for up to 14 days. After 14 days, the State can submit a request for additional support, if necessary.

The St. Claire HealthCare service area, like most of Kentucky, is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, driven by transmission of the Delta variant primarily among the unvaccinated. Virtually all hospitalizations and deaths are in unvaccinated people. From July 1 to September 3, 2021, more than 80% of COVID-19 patients admitted to St. Claire Regional Medical Center were unvaccinated. Of the 15 COVID-related deaths reported during this time, only one was fully vaccinated.

To date, SCH is currently treating 72 COVID patients. Thirty-four are receiving hospital care while 38 are being treated under the COVID acute care home program.

“We have seen over the past few months how effective vaccines are in the fight against COVID-19,” Lloyd added. “It is important that all members of our community who are eligible for a vaccine are vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves and those who are most vulnerable to serious complications or death from COVID.

To schedule an immunization appointment for you or your child (12 years or older), call 606.783.7539. Planners are available to take your call Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

(provided by St. Claire HealthCare)

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