More than 1K Ohio National Guard members to help with hospital staffing shortages

On Thursday afternoon, the Ohio Department of Health reported an increase of 11,803 new...
On Thursday afternoon, the Ohio Department of Health reported an increase of 11,803 new COVID-19 cases.(Capitol News Service)
Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 10:10 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 17, 2021 at 12:18 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has ordered 1,050 members of the Ohio National Guard to fill needed positions in the state’s hospitals.

Of the total mobilized guard members, approximately 150 EMTs and nurses will deploy to help meet critical needs at hospitals and testing locations.

The remaining 900 guard members will help with patient transport, housekeeping, and food services.

Guard members will be brought on duty beginning on Monday starting in Northern Ohio and eventually come to Southwest Ohio.

DeWine said there is no timeline to when the National Guard members will leave state hospitals.

“We will keep them in there as long as they’re needed,” he said.

Ohio is also working with a healthcare staffing company to bring in qualified nurses and other medical personnel from out of state.

The governor says early in the pandemic the concern was about space and beds but today the concern is personnel.

“Twenty-two months of this pandemic has taken its toll on our healthcare workers and that’s certainly understandable,” he said. “We cannot thank them enough. 22 months they have fought this war and I want to thank them and thank them again. We are very grateful.”

At this time, the governor said Ohio has the highest number of COVID-19 patients since Dec. 2, 2020, with more than 4,700 that are currently hospitalized.

“Omicron is here and it is spreading fast and we are expected to have a regular flu season this year. These are a few reasons for this high level of concern,” DeWine said.

The governor says 9 out of 10 patients hospitalized with COVID are unvaccinated.

There are more than 600 COVID patients in ICU beds in the Tri-State with at least 60 COVID patients hospitalized each day, according to the Cincinnati Health Collaborative.

DeWine is recommending for the next four weeks or so that schools continue or begin masking.

The press conference comes one day after DeWine announced that he and his wife were exposed to COVID-19 Monday evening after a staffer tested positive.

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