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State Deploys National Guard To Help Hospitals During COVID-19 Surge

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Baptist Health Richmond cheered Kentucky National Guard members for their help last year. (Photo: Baptist Health Richmond.)

Robert Moore
Herald Staff

National Guardsmen are again being deployed to help overwhelmed health care workers as COVID-19 cases surge across Kentucky and the rest of the world.
Last week, Kentucky reported 52,603 new COVID-19 cases—the highest weekly total ever by nearly 22,000 cases—and the state’s highest ever test positivity rate at 26.33 percent.

Gov. Andy Beshear is deploying 445 Kentucky National Guard members to 30 health care facilities to provide support. The state reported 1,873 hospitalizations on Monday, with 452 Kentuckians in intensive care and 238 on ventilators.

Many of those being hospitalized are children. According to the federal government, new hospital admissions for children under 18 with confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses across the country averaged 797 each day, the highest it has ever been.

The good news is that omicron appears to cause less severe illness, particularly among people who are vaccinated, said Dr. Steven Stack, the commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

Locally, 203 active cases were reported by the Mercer County Health Department on Jan. 5, with five hospitalizations. Mercer is averaging 21.9 cases per day, according to the health department. So far, 94 people have died of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the state’s dash board, with 38 deaths reported since July 1, 2021, according to the health department. They reported that 55.4 percent of Mercer County residents are fully vaccinated as of Jan. 5.

According to the state, 63 percent of all Kentuckians have received at least their first dose, as well as 67 percent of Kentuckians ages 5 and older and 74 percent of all Kentucky adults.

Dr. Stack provided these tips for staying safe.

• If you are sick, stay home until you feel better.

• Get vaccinated or boosted, if eligible.

• Boosters dramatically bolster your protection against severe disease and death.

• Wear a well-fitting mask at all times when indoors in public places such school, work, stores, etc.

• If you think you have COVID-19 and/or have had a high-risk exposure and you are able, get tested.

For more information, visit

For information on getting vaccinated, visit the Mercer County Health Department’s website.

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