UPDATE: St. Claire Health erects tent outside to handle patient overflow

UPDATE POSTED 12:10 P.M. AUG. 30, 2021

MOREHEAD, Ky. (WTVQ) – A week after going into its ‘Code Yellow’ mode to handle a surge in COVID patients, St. Claire Healthcare in Morehead is implementing another extraordinary step.

Emergency Management has erected a tent outside the hospital to handle overflow patients.

The extraordinary step prompted a plea from Morehead Mayor Laura White-Brown for area residents to consider getting vaccinated.

“I am at a loss for words. The images below are of an Emergency Management tent that St. Claire will be using for overflow medical attention due to capacity restraints. The exact words out of my mouth to the firefighters spending their night setting this up, was that this looks like something out of a movie,” the mayor said in a social media post.
“I understand that the opinions of elected officials are often met with hesitation, but it continues to be worth the plea. Please consider getting vaccinated. I don’t want to see this tent filled with people or families, yet the daunting truth is that we likely see that very scenario occur within days.
“I can’t express enough my true gratitude to the first responders who have spent hours getting this space set up. Thank you to Emergency Management, the Morehead Fire Department and the State Highway Department. Your time and effort will always be remembered and appreciated,” White-Brown concluded.


MOREHEAD, Ky. (WTVQ) – St. Claire HealthCare (SCH) initiated a Code Yellow Disaster Response on August 23 in response to an ongoing and fourth surge of COVID-19 patients from our region.

By initiating a Code Yellow, SCH establishes a modified management structure, known as a Hospital Incident Command System (HICS). This allows the health system to reallocate and redistribute resources across the entire enterprise to respond to this fourth surge of COVID patients in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

“St. Claire is not unique in this situation,” said SCH President and CEO Donald H. Lloyd II. “The entire state and virtually every health system in Kentucky is experiencing a clinical crisis due to this surge.”

As of 8:45 a.m. Monday, Aug. 23, St. Claire HealthCare is treating 59 COVID-positive patients through inpatient and post-acute care.

Thirty-one are receiving inpatient care at St. Claire Regional Medical Center and 28 are being treated acutely through the COVID Care at Home program. Additional COVID patients are also being cared for through post-acute home health and hospice services.

“I have no doubt that while we are going to be challenged, we will manage through this with collaboration, cooperation, and extraordinary effort,” Lloyd added.

He urged all staff to look to St. Claire’s mission to proclaim God’s goodness through a healing ministry to the people of Eastern Kentucky as a beacon of guidance and hope during the difficult days ahead.

“We will make sure we’re doing whatever it takes to care for our patients in this extraordinary time of need,” he added. “They need us now more than ever.”

St. Claire Regional Medical Center also announced Friday evening it has temporarily restricted visitation for patients in the Emergency Department. Exceptions will be made for pediatric patients and consideration will be given in compassionate care situations.

Additional changes to the hospital’s visitation policy went into effect Monday.

Patients in medical-surgical units will be limited to one visitor between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., and only one visitor for intensive care and progressive care patients between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Previously, visitors were able to switch out during visiting hours, but with the dramatic rise in COVID cases throughout the region, the health system is taking extra precautions to protect the health of its patients and staff.

According to Lloyd, the most important thing the community can do to help the health system through this surge is to protect themselves from COVID by getting vaccinated, practicing good hand hygiene, social distancing, and wearing a mask when appropriate.

“We know there are a lot of people out there who have been waiting for the vaccine to be FDA approved, and we hope with today’s announcement that the Pfizer vaccine has been FDA approved for individuals 16 and up will have a dramatic impact on vaccination rates in our community,” said Lloyd.

While the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t come with a guarantee that you will never contract COVID, it does dramatically decrease your odds of serious illness or hospitalization and it could save your life.

The Pfizer vaccine is available at SCH, along with the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Appointments are available for individuals 12 years of age and older. To schedule an appointment for yourself or your child, call 606.783.7539.

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