All across the country, amid the rise in Covid patients, medical facilities have been calling on the National Guard for additional support. From hospitals to testing sites to nursing homes, this latest surge has shown, yet again, just how overburdened our medical system is, even after two years of the pandemic.
In Utah, members of the National Guard’s COVID-19 Joint Task Force were sent earlier this week to a hospital where the ICU has been at over 100 percent capacity since the summertime, and patient loads have risen “to the highest levels of the pandemic.” This is the first time in the state’s history that the National Guard has been deployed to a hospital setting.
In North Carolina, on Feb. 10, the state’s National Guard started working shifts around the clock at a hospital that is dealing with disproportionately high Covid cases and staffing shortages. They submitted an application in January, and are just now seeing this aid come through.
Meanwhile, in Wyoming, members of the National Guard have been deployed at hospitals around the state to help with testing since September, and they’re not expected to be withdrawn until April, when funding will run out.
In New York, National Guard members are helping out at nursing homes to alleviate pressure on overburdened facilities and overwhelmed healthcare employees. This way, hospitals can discharge patients to nursing homes, hopefully creating more hospital bed space for patients with more acute needs. And the list goes on and on. In fact, in January of this year, over 15,000 National Guard members were deployed in 49 states. We’re entering the third year of the pandemic, yet the crisis is obviously far from over.