Ohio National Guard to help build out coronavirus hospital capacity

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The leader of the Ohio National Guard laid out their plan to help the state build out hospital capacity and other efforts to fight the surge of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

“The main effort that’s happening here is the obvious preparation for the medical capacity surge that we know that we’re going to need as this COVID spread peaks,” said Ohio Adjutant General Major General John Harris Jr.

Harris said residents should get ready to see more service members in their communities in the coming weeks.

“I promised that when the National Guard had a new mission and we were going to be in your communities that I would tell you,” he said. “So, I’m telling you. You’re going to see service members in uniform in your community doing things in increasing numbers here in the very near future.”

Harris said there were a number of efforts being undertaken by the National Guard to build out the capacity.

One of the things the National Guard is doing is looking for places to house the hospitals, whether that’s acquiring buildings or working with empty state-owned buildings.

“It may include building out facilities in partnership with the regions,” Harris added.

Another effort the National Guard is undertaking is pushing out equipment and helping with staffing where it is needed most.

“We know that the workforce is going to be stressed during these peak periods,” Harris said.

Harris said the National Guard is working with both public and private sector entities to help with its efforts to address the surge.

Harris commended the hospitals across the state and how they are planning and utilizing their available resources, allowing the National Guard to more efficiently address the job it needs to do.

“What that does is create the opportunity for us to better target the resources that we bring to bear not only for maximum efficiency, but making sure we got the right stuff in the right place at the right time for when it’s needed during this peak,” he said.

Coronavirus in Ohio resources:

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