States turn to National Guard for hospital staffing help: 5 updates

As the omicron variant spreads and areas around the U.S. grapple with COVID-19 surges, some states have enlisted the National Guard to support hospitals experiencing staffing strain and capacity challenges.

Note: This article was updated Dec. 22.

Massachusetts

1. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's administration announced Dec. 21 that the state will activate up to 500 National Guard members to address the nonclinical support needs of hospitals and transport systems. State officials said up to 300 of these National Guard members will begin training this week to support 55 acute care hospitals and 12 ambulance service providers. The members will be deployed beginning Dec. 27 for up to 90 days. They can serve in roles such as nonemergency transport between facilities, patient observers, security support, in-hospital transport and food service/tray delivery support.

Ohio

2. On Dec. 17, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced 1,050 National Guard members would be mobilized. About 150 of the mobilized National Guard members will help meet critical needs at hospitals and testing locations, he said. The remaining individuals will help with patient transport, housekeeping and food services.

Indiana

3. Indianapolis-based Indiana University Health, the state's largest hospital system, announced Dec. 9 that it requested assistance from the National Guard for most of its hospitals. As of Dec. 17, the National Guard was supporting 13 of 16 IU Health hospitals; the request does not include Riley Children's Hospital, according to Fox 59

Maine

4. In Maine, Gov. Janet Mills announced Dec. 13 that 38 National Guard members would deploy to healthcare facilities in the state beginning Dec. 16. She said they would be used in nonclinical roles to support nursing facilities and swing bed units that accept patients discharged from overwhelmed hospitals and help administer monoclonal antibodies to prevent serious COVID-19 illness. The deployments, which are scheduled through Jan. 26 and based on need, come after the governor activated up to 75 National Guard members earlier in December.

New Hampshire 

5. National Guard members began deploying to New Hampshire hospitals the week of Dec. 16, the Foster's Daily Democrat reported. The National Guard members will work in nonclinical roles to support hospital staff. 

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