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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Ohio National Guard begins deployment at overwhelmed hospitals in Northeast Ohio

Ohio National Guard personnel
Karen Kasler
Statehouse News Bureau
Members of the Ohio National Guard are being deployed to aid hospitals overwhelmed by the latest surge of COVID-19.

As COVID-19 cases hit an all-time high, hospitals across Ohio are getting help from the Ohio National Guard. Summa Health in Akron already received National Guard members this week.

One out of every three beds at Summa Health’s Akron campus are occupied by a patient with COVID-19. The hospital is overwhelmed, and staff is exhausted according to Dr. David Custodio, president of the Akron campus. He says he’s relieved to get the National Guard’s help.

“We received eight new team members on Monday morning and onboarded them very quickly. They are EMTs and have stepped up to the plate. Our emergency department director is thrilled. These folks are eager, willing and very much capable to step into the care,” according to Custodio.

He says members of the National Guard are helping in a variety of ways.

Custodio says the National Guard is helping the hospital in a number of ways.

“They’re providing care all the way from helping us in triage as the patients arrive to drawing blood, transporting patients and step up to whatever task is available even if it’s wiping down a room or helping folks lift patients. Those folks have been very much received, and the home team is truly grateful to have this assistance.”

The National Guard will be deployed to additional hospitals by the end of the week, including Mercy Health St. Elizabeth in Youngstown, Mercy Health St. Joseph in Warren, Cleveland Clinic Akron General and Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital in Canton.

Abigail Bottar covers Akron, Canton, Kent and the surrounding areas for Ideastream Public Media.