PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) – The National Guard arrived at Princeton Community Hospital Tuesday, January 25, 2022. Wednesday morning, CEO Karen Bowling spoke to the media about how they would be assisting hospital staff.

With Princeton Community Hospital at capacity for weeks now, CEO Karen Bowling said the arrival of the National Guard will provide some necessary extra hands to care for patients. Bowling said one way the National Guard has started helping is by assisting with laundry and cleaning.

“When you have the volume of patients that we have, and we have the turnover of patients, you know, a large volume of patients coming in to our emergency room and then a large volume of patients that are discharged and they have to be admitted from our emergency room, that requires a lot of additional help to turn over the rooms. To make sure everything’s clean,” said Bowling.

With the extra help provided by the eight National Guard members, Bowling hopes they can dramatically cut down the amount of time it takes to get beds cleaned and prepped for new patients.

But that’s not all Bowling said the National Guard will bring to PCH. She said she’s hoping the rest of the staff will be encouraged to see the Guard pitching in to help.

“It’s difficult,” Bowling explained. “You know our folks are working really hard. They’re working overtime. We’re all doing what we need to do to service this community and take care of people. And seeing the guard here to jump in and help us is really, I think, good for morale.”

Bowling said she was thrilled when she heard the national guard would be coming to PCH to lend a hand. And she knew from her time working with them in state government, they would come in immediately ready to make a difference.

“I was fortunate to be able to see through prior disasters how well the national guard responded. Whether it was the derecho, or the water crisis. I mean, they were in quickly, and helping communities,” Bowling said.

“This is a little different because they’re in a hospital, which is maybe a little different than the kind of work they’ve done in the past. But we’ve always been able to count on the national guard.”

As of now, the plan is for the Guard members to stay at Princeton Community Hospital through the end of March. Although, the hospital will meet with commanding officers once a week to determine if a longer stay is needed.