COLUMBUS, Ohio — Governor Mike DeWine visited the Defense Supply Center in Columbus Thursday as Ohio National Guard members report for duty amid a surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Last month, DeWine authorized the activation of 2,300 guard members in response to a rising number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state. So far, roughly 100 guard members have deployed to central Ohio hospitals, including Mount Carmel East and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
According to Maj. General John C. Harris, adjunct general with the Ohio National Guard, the second wave of the mobilization process is now underway, bringing on the support of an additional 1,250 guard members.
State health officials have said the National Guard’s assistance will help alleviate larger hospitals that are currently understaffed and expand capacity. That could mean anything from providing patient transport, to bedside assistance and cleaning services.
"All of us depend on our hospitals to protect us, and now the National Guard is involved in protecting our hospitals and enabling them to continue to protect all of us," said DeWine.
Currently, National Guard members are establishing COVID-19 testing sites to help ease the strain on hospital staff members.
The additional help comes after a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. Ohio health officials reported an additional 19,750 cases on Wednesday.
There are also rising concerns over the omicron variant, which Dr. Mysheika Roberts with Columbus Public Health says appears much more contagious than the delta variant. Despite this, health officials say omicron is not sending anywhere near the number of vaccinated people to the hospital.
According to Roberts, one person with the delta variant can spread it to as many as seven people. However, someone with omicron can spread it to as many as 10 people. You can keep track of daily cases in Ohio by clicking here.