National Guard, federal troops to help Ohio’s COVID-19 response


The federal government said it will help Ohio hospitals struggling with rising COVID-19 cases while the Ohio National Guard presence at testing sites and hospitals is increasing.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday the total deployment of guard troops stands at 2,300 and members will support 15 testing locations around the state. About 200 guard members also are offering medical support, while the other 2,100 are helping with testing, food service, in-hospital patient transportation and administration.

“As the demand for COVID-19 testing increases, adding to the pressure our hospitals are facing, members of the Ohio National Guard will continue to play a critical role in the state’s response,” DeWine said last week when he announced the first wave of members called up. “I commend Guard members for their commitment to their fellow Ohioans as they answer the call to serve.”

President Joe Biden announced Thursday plans to dispatch medical teams to six hard-hit states, including Ohio. A team of U.S. Air Force nurses, physicians and respiratory therapists are heading to the Cleveland Clinic.

“We are grateful for the federal support as we continue to face a challenging COVID-19 surge in our Ohio hospitals,” Cleveland Clinic CEO and President Tom Mihaljevic said in a statement. “The addition of military medical personnel allows us to care for more patients in our community. We continue to urge everyone to take precautions and receive their COVID-19 vaccine, as the majority of our patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.”

Nearly 20,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Ohio on Thursday, along with 416 new hospitalizations. More than 60% of Ohioans have received at least their first dose of the vaccine, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

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