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Three NE States Deploy National Guard to Help Weary Medical Staffs With COVID Case Surge

Three NE States Deploy National Guard to Help Weary Medical Staffs With COVID Case Surge

The governors of Maine and New York have deployed the National Guard in response to dangerously low capacity at statewide medical facilities due to the pandemic.

The New York National Guard announced Wednesday that it had deployed 120 medics and medical technicians to a dozen long-term care facilities statewide. The deployment came at the behest of Governor Kathy Hochul, who issued the order last week in response to staffing shortages. As of last week, some 50 hospitals in northern New York had less than 10% bed capacity in large part due to lack of staff. Gov. Hochul has indicated that she may deploy the Guard to hospitals as well.

[National Guard personnel march in formation Thursday at a state-managed coronavirus drive-through testing site that just opened on Staten Island in New York. GETTY IMAGES] 
Maine Governor Janet Mills activated her state’s National Guard following a spike in Covid-19 cases that saw a record-high of 379 people hospitalized with Covid-19 as of Wednesday, 60 of whom were on ventilators. According to the most recent state data, roughly 73% of Maine residents have received a full initial dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, with 16% of the population receiving a booster shot. Mills’ office said in a statement Wednesday that Maine had only 42 ICU beds available statewide.

Neighboring New Hampshire Gov. Christopher Sununu is also calling on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Guard to help the state prepare for the Covid-19 winter surge. “We reached out to FEMA to request some staffing assistance in our health care facilities, preparing for the winter surge,” Sununu said in his Covid-19 news conference Wednesday. “They did indicate to us that they’d be sending a few dozen individuals to New Hampshire to help out, with the first 24-person team arriving as early as this weekend.”
Sununu said that the extra staffing will allow hospitals to open entire wings so that they can better serve their community.

Health experts are predicting the whole country will see Covid-19 case numbers go up in coming weeks thanks to the winter weather forcing people back indoors. Already 23 states have had more than a 20% increase in case numbers in just the last two weeks.


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