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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Ohio Expands National Guard Assistance to Southwestern Hospitals and Medical Facilities

As the number of new COVID-19 cases in Ohio remains high, although the number of positive test results is declining, Governor. Mike DeWine sent members of the State National Guard to assist in hospitals and medical facilities throughout the Southwest.

DeWine announced his decision Jan. 24 as Ohio continues to experience snowfall and freezing temperatures as President Joe Biden withdraws his vaccination mandate for large businesses with 100 or more employees.

Resources from closed testing centers in Ohio are being moved to support local hospitals or other Guard missions elsewhere in the state.

Guard is offering support in every region of Ohio, whether testing sites or hospital assistance, starting January 26th.

DeWine first deployed members of the Ohio National Guard to assist in hospitals in mid-December 2021, and increased their numbers a few weeks later.

Ohio’s healthcare facilities employ just over 2,000 guards to help ease the burden on healthcare workers.

Rollout changes include new support for testing sites in Cincinnati and Springfield, as two locations in northeast Ohio recently closed.

The Guards first deployed to Premier Health Miami Valley Hospital in downtown Dayton, the Dayton Children’s Hospital facility in Springfield, and throughout Cincinnati.

Ohio Gov. Mike Devine has moved some members of the National Guard from medical facilities in northeast Ohio to the state’s southwest. For the first time, members of the Guard are helping out at Premier Health’s Miami Valley Hospital in downtown Dayton. (Photo courtesy of Premier Health)

For the second week in a row, the daily number of COVID-19 patients in Ohio hospitals, including those in intensive care units, has been declining, a hopeful sign that the Omicron surge is coming to an end, at least in the northeast of the state.

In addition, the daily number of hospitalizations in Ohio has been declining every day in the last week.

Weekly, the number was lower on January 22 (5,376) than on January 15 (6,285); this is a decrease of 909 patients.

The Guards and State Defense Forces continue to provide support across the state in response to the pandemic, with approximately 2,500 troops on 10 active missions, including vaccinations, and in warehouses and prisons.

DeWine said in a statement: “The Guard continues its mission to support the state’s hardest-hit hospitals as COVID-19 infection rates soared, bringing admissions and intensive care unit admissions this month to the highest levels of the entire pandemic.”

The Omicron variant was still high in the state (2,154 cases per 100,000 residents), except in Northeast Ohio where it dropped.

State health officials and hospital leaders have expressed optimism that the Omicron variant peaked in Cuyahoga County, which led the state in cases on Dec. 30 with 3,023 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the health department.

On Jan. 20, the department reported an average of 2,154.8 cases per 100,000 people, up from 1,883.8 last week.

Cuyahoga County, which covers the Greater Cleveland area, has 939.5 cases per 100,000 people, up from 1,551 cases last week.

As a result of declining demand, the test sites at the Stark County Fairgrounds in Canton and the Walker Center in Cleveland were closed over the weekend of January 22-23.

The testing site in Summit County in Akron closed on Jan. 16.

Guard deployment changes include new support for testing sites in Cincinnati and Springfield, as two facilities in northeast Ohio were recently closed.

The death toll in Ohio since the start of the pandemic in early 2020 as of January 23 is 31,987, according to the Department of Health.

The figure comes after a relatively high number of 1,065 was reported last week. In the previous three weeks, Ohio has reported 850, 625, and 727 COVID-19 deaths, respectively.

Michael Sakal |

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Michael Sakal is a Epoch Times reporter covering events in Ohio.

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