National Guard leaves posts at Baptist Health Lexington, Richmond

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – After two months of serving at Baptist Health Lexington and Baptist Health Richmond, the National Guard will be leaving the hospitals.

The National Guard left Baptist Health Lexington on Friday, Nov. 12 and is wrapping up its post at Baptist Health Richmond on Monday, Nov. 15.

Both Baptist Health locations were among 21 hospitals across the Commonwealth assisted by the Kentucky National Guard during a surge of COVID-19.

“We’re really grateful for them,” Greg Repass, MD, vice president of Clinical Support and Physician Specialty Services at Baptist Health Lexington said in September. “For them to come and serve all of us in this time of need sends such a positive message.”

Fifteen members of the Kentucky National Guard were deployed to Baptist Health Lexington and arrived on Sept. 12. The guardsmen helped out with non-medical tasks such as screening people at entrances, food services, patient transport and environmental services.

“This shows that every hospital is bursting at the seams, that they desperately need help and that we are a state full of more desperately sick people than we have ever seen,” said Gov. Andy Beshear at a press conference in September announcing the deployment. “I believe this is the largest deployment of the Guard in this crisis health care situation in our history. Every time we’ve asked, they’ve stepped up and served us so proudly.”

Baptist Health Richmond’s President Greg Gerard said the hospital was incredibly grateful for the National Guard taking on this unique assignment.

While the National Guard hopes the need was temporary, the support from the community has been overwhelming.

“This is definitely an unique mission. I don’t think – I would say, hopefully it’s not a continuous thing obviously, but it’s been a great experience and I think that it will build for experience down the road,” said Lt. Kyle Moore, Richmond COVID Support Team OIC. “It’s huge support and it’s getting thanks 10 or 20 times just walking out to the car there. So, the community’s definitely aware we’re here and it seems like we have their support.”

Gerard said Baptist Health will have to make up for the services the National Guard has provided, but luckily they’re leaving at a time when COVID is not hitting the hospital as hard.

After spiking in September, the number of COVID-19 cases in Kentucky continued to drop throughout October, with a decline in the number of people hospitalized and in intensive care due to the coronavirus.

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