Gov. DeWine orders Ohio National Guard into hospitals to help with coronavirus-related staffing issues

hospital beds
hospital beds(WBAY Staff)
Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 8:56 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 17, 2021 at 11:15 AM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The governor announced on Friday that he is ordering 1,050 National Guard members into Ohio’s hospitals in an effort to help address staffing shortages across the state as the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continues to soar.

During a Friday morning press conference, Gov. Mike DeWine said 4,723 patients with COVID-19 were in Ohio’s hospitals. It’s the largest number of COVID-19 patients in the state’s hospitals dating back to Dec. 22, 2020.

Nine-hundred of the National Guard members will be tasked with non-medical care. The remaining 150 will directly assist with COVID-19 patients.

A staffing agency will also be used to help ensure Ohio’s hospitals have the health care workers they needed.

Local hospital systems are anxious to be filled in on the plans.

“We welcome the Governor’s announcement and are eager to learn more about how it will be implemented,” Metro Health said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Summa Health said they did not have much in the way of details.

“Due to the unprecedented amount of people seeking care-including a large number of unvaccinated COVID patients - we welcome additional support,” Mike Bernstein wrote.

The governor also said that almost all of northern Ohio’s hospitals halted non-critical procedures to preserve staff and equipment for coronavirus-related care.

Friday’s press conference came a day after DeWine announced that he and his wife, first lady Fran, were exposed to someone who recently tested positive for COVID-19.

The Ohio Department of Health also discussed the latest updates with the omicron variant, including a case detected recently in a Tuscarawas County resident, during a Thursday briefing.

On Thursday afternoon, the Ohio Department of Health reported an increase of 11,803 new COVID-19 cases, which included a backlog of over 1,000 positive test results.

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