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Johnson Memorial Health in 'crisis mode' as Indiana National Guard arrives

Posted at 9:23 AM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 09:23:27-05

FRANKLIN — Members of the Indiana National Guard began their second day inside Johnson Memorial Health on Thursday as the facility’s top doctor says the facility is in “crisis mode.”

Six Guardsmen have been assigned to the hospital with two treating patients.

Johnson Memorial Health president and CEO Dr. Dave Dunkel said the Indiana National Guard members can draw blood, check vital signs and help support nurses. They will also help clean rooms so they can change rooms quicker and get patients to the surgical floor in a more timely manner.

“That’s huge for us,” Dunkel said.

The spike in COVID-19 cases mostly among unvaccinated people comes as Johnson Memorial Health has less staff to care for them. More than 10 workers are currently out with the coronavirus.

“Crisis mode means we're having trouble finding people to take care of patients,” Dunkel said. “We have a shortage of nurses. It's very difficult to fill shifts because if a nurse becomes ill at the last minute, that's basically five or six beds that I can't staff. Five or six patients can't be put in a bed.”

The Guardsmen will be at the hospital for the next 14 days. Their services can be extended as necessary in two-week intervals.

Johnson Memorial Health has been on diversion for the past several days meaning it is not taking any new patients via ambulance.

People being treated for COVID-19, on average, spend about 12 days in the hospital.