Pikeville Medical Center reports COVID-19 hospitalizations are 25 times higher

Staff stretched to capacity
Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 6:50 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) - Resources are stretched thin as COVID-19 hospitalizations are 25 times higher than in June at Pikeville Medical Center, according to data released by the hospital.

“Our emergency departments, like so many other hospitals across the state and nation right now, are overburdened. We’re unable to accept transfers. We have hospitals calling from Georgia that are looking for bed space to transfer COVID patients into an ICU,” said Donovan Blackburn, president and CEO of Pikeville Medical Center.

According to data released by PMC, 80% of hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. As of Wednesday, Aug. 25, PMC is treating 76 patients, and 15 of them are in the ICU. On June 22, the hospital reported having a total of three COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Aaron Crum, PMC’s Chief Medical Officer, said the hospital is at a tipping point. Daily reports show the hospital is operating between 85 to 95% full capacity.

“The delta variant changed all that. We’re still probably at least three weeks away from the peak,” Dr. Crum said.

PMC reopened the respiratory triage unit to screen and treat additional patients last week, as they function until more help arrives.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced the deployment of the Kentucky National Guard Strike Team to Pikeville Medical Center and St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead.

The strike team will arrive Sept. 1 and provide care until the end of the year.

“It will be more than likely be the initial phase, not provider basis. These will be folks doing things like transport and even helping with housekeeping from that standpoint, but they were open to coming in and helping us continue to fill a void,” Blackburn said.

Blackburn said the biggest void they need help with is staffing shortages.

PMC currently has 200 job positions they’re looking to fill.

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