Ohio Gov. DeWine calls in National Guard to help staff hospitals during COVID-19 surge

The majority of the National Guard members will help with patient transport, house keeping, and food service, DeWine said on Dec. 17, 2021. [antoniodiaz / Shutterstock]
The majority of the National Guard members will help with patient transport, house keeping, and food service, DeWine said on Dec. 17, 2021. [antoniodiaz / Shutterstock]

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday activated 1,050 National Guard members in Ohio to help hospitals throughout the state deal with staffing shortages during the most recent COVID-19 surge.

The National Guard members called in to help are not currently working in healthcare, DeWine said.

“These are not people who we are moving from one hospital to another,” he said. “The General has gone through this with his team very, very carefully.”

Of that 1,050, 150 are highly trained medical personnel, including nurses and EMTs, DeWine said during a press conference Friday announcing the decision.

The remaining 900 will help with patient transport, housekeeping, and food service, according to the governor’s office.

The state has also contracted with a staffing company to help quell the shortages.

DeWine said the state is also working with a staffing company to help hire healthcare workers.

“This will allow for Ohio hospitals to bring in qualified nurses and other medical personnel from out of state to fill needed positions and help ease some of the pressure on hospitals and their staff,” he said.

DeWine said one in five people in Ohio’s hospitals, about 4,700 patients, are infected with COVID-19 -- the highest number in one year.

Northern Ohio hospitals have been hit particularly hard.

“A great focus is going to be on the Cleveland area, the Canton area, the Akron area,” he said. “That's the area we're seeing the most dire situation at this point.”

Guard members will begin Monday. There is no timeline to end the initiative.

Yesterday, Ohio Department of Health officials said that the best way to protect yourself and your family against serious illness and death is to get vaccinated or get a booster shot.

 

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