COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Gov. Mike DeWine ordered the Ohio National Guard on Friday to help hospitals with their pandemic-related staffing shortages.

In addition, state officials are working with an Ohio healthcare staffing company to help, DeWine announced during a news conference. He described the main issue not as available beds, like it was earlier in the coronavirus pandemic, but of staffing, saying the past 22 months have taken their toll on workers.

“We cannot thank them enough for the work they have done and that they continue to do,” DeWine said.

A total of 1,050 members of the National Guard have been activated, with them going into hospitals starting Monday so they are in place at least until the end of the holiday season. DeWine said his concern is related to the spread of the delta variant of COVID-19, especially in the northern portion of the state, and as cases of the newer omicron variant are starting to be reported.

He also asked that state school districts require mask-wearing for the next four weeks.

DeWine spoke from the governor’s residence in Bexley. He is under quarantine after exposure to COVID-19. He and his wife, Fran, have twice tested negative for contracting the disease. Both have been vaccinated and received booster shots.