Gov. Kate Brown said Friday she will deploy up to 500 Oregon National Guard members to support frontline health care workers as Oregon hospitals face a surge of hospitalizations due to the rapid spread of the omicron variant.
Beginning next week, an initial 125 Guard members will be deployed to hospitals around the state to provide needed logistical support as materials handlers and equipment runners, as well as assisting with COVID-19 testing and other necessary non-clinical services to support hospital operations.
The Oregon Health Authority and Oregon National Guard will continue to work with the hospital systems to monitor ongoing need and determine additional deployments as necessary.
“With more than 500 current hospitalizations and daily record-breaking numbers of COVID-19 cases, we are at another critical point in this pandemic—and the Oregon National Guard is stepping up again to assist,” Brown said in a statement. “I would like to thank the employers of our Guard members—we cannot call upon these hardworking Guard members without your sacrifice and support as well. While Guard members work to support our frontline health care workers, I am asking all Oregonians to continue to do your part to help. Get vaccinated, get boosted, wear your masks, and stay home when you are sick.”
While the Oregon National Guard also has members with health care, nursing, and medical training, many of those members are already hard at work for their civilian employers––Oregon hospitals and health care providers.
This is the second deployment to Oregon hospitals.
In August, Brown announced 1,500 soldiers would be sent to hospitals across the state to help with the COVID surge caused by the delta variant.
At that time, about 130 soldiers were working at St. Charles in Bend, handling a myriad of duties.
St. Charles officials say they have submitted a request, but they do not know when or if any soldiers will be sent here.