State to deploy more National Guard members to help Ohio hospitals

Ohio reports record number of COVID hospitalizations, cases
Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 4:38 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WXIX) - Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday that the state is deploying 1,250 more National Guard members to support Ohio hospitals.

That brings the total to 2,300 Guard members serving at hospitals, primarily in the northern part of the state.

“This is not something we take lightly... We are asking them to leave their families, their jobs and homes. This is a huge sacrifice,” Gov. DeWine said.

Teams including nurses and medics will provide clinical care and non-medical teams will assist with food services, patient transportation within facilities, and administrative support.

Approximately 460 Guard members are deployed in the Cleveland area; more than 160 in the Toledo area; and about 100 in the Columbus area.

DeWine says smaller numbers of the Guard will be deployed in the coming days in Mansfield, Dayton, and Lima to support hospitals.

Guard personnel are also supporting testing sites in Cleveland and Akron.

The governor says the Guard deployment is being driven by unvaccinated people who account for more than 90% of hospitalizations since COVID-19 vaccines were made widely available.

“Today we have the highest hospitalization count of people with COVID during this pandemic,” the governor said.

Of the more than 5,000 COVID patients currently in Ohio hospitals, doctors say 3,000 are in the northern region of the state.

“When we see a hotspot in one area it does spread through the whole state. It may be urban going to rural. It may be north to south. We are seeing data that says we are seeing a rise in Southwest Ohio that is not as dramatic as the Cleveland area, but my fear is we are only a couple of weeks behind,” UC Health CEO Richard Lofgren said.

As for the UC Medical Center, officials there say there were at capacity status Wednesday.

UC Medical Center officials said “at capacity” means they ask fire/EMS crews to temporarily take patients to other hospitals except for major trauma, burns, and stroke to help ease crowding.

As schools head back in the next few days, Gov. DeWine also encouraged requiring masks in the classroom.

Statewide mandates are off the table after the state legislature passed a law earlier this year that would allow them to repeal health orders.

Urgent Care Director Dr. Haze Al Hnawi at Medical Urgent Care says urgent care around the Tri-State are now taking the weight of even more patients.

“It’s good to start at an urgent care, it’s less weight, it’s less load for the ER and we don’t want to flood the ERS, which receive all kinds of cases from chest pain to trauma with mild cases,” Dr. Al Hnawi explained.

Usually, Dr. Al Hnawi says they would see 50 to 60 cases per day, but now they are seeing 100, if not more.

COVID-19 cases impacting urger care across Tri-State

Dr. Al Hnawi says go to urgent care first if you have mild COVID-19 symptoms for testing.

To schedule an appointment at midtown urgent care, go to

To schedule at Colerain urgent care, go to

To schedule at Urgent care of Fairfield, go to

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