Another covid surge brings the need for the WV National Guard to enter hospitals

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 5:23 PM EST
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NORTH CENTRAL, W.Va (WDTV) - As we are almost three years into the pandemic, hospitals are still feeling the effects and are overwhelmed as many are experiencing staff shortages.

Right now hospitals across West Virginia are seeing a total of 846 covid patients. On Tuesday, the state Department of Health and Human Resources reported 810.

“Hospitals are strapped right now,” Romeo Tan, the director of operations for Mon Health Medical Center said.

With the number of hospitalizations increasing, Tan said the need for assistance in hospitals also continues to grow.

“The covid surge is ongoing and we expect it to continue,” he said. “Staffing in the hospitals has become a challenge. Staffing not only in the clinical areas, but also the non-clinical areas.”

The support hospitals need will come from the West Virginia National Guard.

Just earlier this week, the governor directed for approval of requests from hospitals across the state to receive additional staffing support saying quote, “I firmly believe that by reassigning our valued Guard members to this mission, West Virginia’s hospitals can get back up to capacity to care for our residents.”

Within the Mon Health System, Grafton City Hospital was one of the first two hospitals in the state to acquire assistance, and not even a week later, Tan said every hospital within Mon Health will need soldiers.

“Every hospital in Mon Health System--Preston Memorial Hospital, Stonewall Jackson and the Medical Center have all submitted request,” he said

A state national guard official told 5 News last week that close to 1700 West Virginia nurses did not renew their license or relocated. Tan said this is where having soldiers in hospitals will come in hand.

“If we have a staff member who’s working extra hours who needs a break or if we have an area that we are struggling to staff, those will be the focus for these guard members.”

Helping to bring about even more focus on patients and their needs and communities in our area overall.

“The resilience that you can see in hospitals and health systems and clinics is inspiring, but we do need the public’s help to get through this.”

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