What’s Going On With The Oregon National Guard?

As of last Wednesday, the Oregon Health Authority said 756 people were being treated for COVID in Oregon hospitals – up 29 patients from last Tuesday. In response to this overcrowding, 1,200 Oregon National Guard members are being sent to help out hospital staff amid a surge in cases brought on by the omicron variant of COVID-19.

The first 500 troops were expected to mobilize last week, with an additional roughly 700 being deployed this week. The OHA and Oregon National Guard are working with the hospital system to monitor their needs and deploy more resources, if necessary. The new deployments were ordered only weeks after Oregon National Guard members from a previous deployment were withdrawn from hospitals. A total of 1,588 troops were mobilized to assist with the pandemic between August and December last year, more than the current total of about 1,200.

On Gov. Brown’s social media, “Thank you, once again, to our Guard members, their families, and their employers for this sacrifice and support. As they step up yet again, I am asking all Oregonians to continue to do your part,” Governor Brown said. “Get vaccinated, get boosted, wear your masks, and stay home when you are sick.” The governor extended her declaration of a state of emergency for COVID-19 back in December as the state prepared for a surge in coronavirus cases. The declaration helps the state utilize resources, like deploying the National Guard if necessary.

More than 50 hospitals will receive help. “Our hospitals are struggling to maintain the fragile balance between providing care for people who are ill with the virus and others needing medical care,” OHA’s Dr. Dean Sidelinger recently said.

Around 74 percent of Oregon adults have been fully vaccinated. However, fewer than 37 percent of adults have received booster doses, which provide an added protection due to Omicron’s partial resistance to current vaccines.