More states enlist National Guard help amid growing staff shortages

As hospitals across the U.S. face a COVID-19 surge and exacerbated staffing challenges, more states are enlisting National Guard members to support overwhelmed facilities, according to CNN.

Five things to know:

1. Delaware Gov. John Carney issued a state of emergency declaration Jan. 3, which enables National Guard members to work as certified nursing assistants in skilled nursing facilities to care for hospitalized patients. About 100 National Guard members were being trained to become CNAs as of Jan. 3. 

2. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a 30-day state of emergency Jan. 4 and mobilized 1,000 National Guard members to help with the state's pandemic response. The National Guard members will support COVID-19 testing sites, including at hospitals, as well as assist with patient transport. They will also support operations at the two new state-run sites at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health in Bel Air and Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis.

3. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Jan. 3 that National Guard members will support additional COVID-19 testing locations, which will operate in partnership with Ohio hospitals and health networks. He said about 300 National Guard members will support those additional sites, while other National Guard members will continue to provide direct clinical care and nonclinical support. 

4. The U.S. Army said in a Jan. 4 statement that military medical personnel will deploy to help healthcare organizations in states including Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, CNN said. According to the news channel, the statement said a 15-person team from the Air Force will support a hospital in Manchester, N.H., and another 20-person team from the Navy will help a facility in Buffalo, N.Y.

5. In Georgia, National Guard members will be deployed to help hospitals in the state, according to ABC affiliate WSB-TV. Maj. Gen. Thomas Carden Jr., adjutant general of the Georgia Department of Defense, told the news station that hundreds of National Guard members are slated to be deployed.

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