National Guard deployed to aid southern Indiana hospital

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Indiana National Guard members have been deployed to a southern Indiana hospital to support medical staff facing increased workloads fueled in part by patients being treated for COVID-19.

Seven National Guard members arrived Wednesday at Clark Memorial Health in Jeffersonville to assist hospital staff during the next one to two weeks, said Ruth Schmidt, the hospital’s chief operating officer.

She said the hospital’s need for help was driven both from the number of COVID-19 patients staff are treating daily, and an influx of people with health conditions that worsened because they may have avoided getting care earlier in the pandemic.

Schmidt said the Guard’s help is giving a boost to both the hospital’s staff and its patients during a trying time.

“We got through the first wave of COVID and we think ’OK, we’ve gotten through this and bang! We get hit with the second one. It’s hard to maintain that for a year and-a-half. People are getting tired,” she told the News and Tribune.

Two Guard members have been assigned to the hospital’s emergency department, providing much-needed help in the area many of those hospitalized COVID-19 patients come through.

As of Wednesday morning, 31 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 at the hospital in the Ohio River city located just north of Louisville, Kentucky. Schmidt said that’s below the peak of 50 patients staff was treating during the worst of the pandemic.

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