COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – COVID-19 hospitalization numbers statewide are approaching record highs, continuing to put a strain on hospital workers.
However, support is on the way for some central Ohio hospitals.
Members of the Ohio National Guard are already helping in some of the state’s hospitals, and starting Wednesday, dozens of members will begin working at Mount Carmel East.
Guard members were at the hospital Tuesday to receive training, and starting Wednesday, 70 of them will be at the hospital working in non-clinical roles like patient transport, stock management, and nutrition services.
“ODH, Department of Health, develops a strategy and tells us where to target them, and we’ll move our teams around as necessary to meet that demand,” Maj. Gen. John Harris, Adjunct General with the Ohio National Guard, said last week.
Harris outlined how members will help as the COVID-19 pandemic challenges hospitals. Mount Carmel East will be the first central Ohio hospital system to get the help since Gov. Mike DeWine mobilized more than 1,000 members.
“Help with meal delivery or helping get rooms ready to be cleaned by our environmental service team members,” said Dr. Robyn Strosaker with University Hospitals.
Some Guard members are already at some hospitals in northeast Ohio, including University Hospitals.
“The fact we’ve got the National Guard deployed in our hospitals, I think, really speaks to the severity of this surge right now,” Strosaker said. “This is the worst it’s been through the entire pandemic.”
As for other hospitals in central Ohio getting Guard help, a spokesperson for the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center said orientation for members is starting later this week.
“It’s going to be fluid, we know, especially as omicron increases and moves around the state,” Harris said. “We’re building agility so we can shift bases on where the most demand is.”
Mount Carmel East is expected to make a statement Wednesday on the National Guard serving in its hospital.