Ohio governor mobilizes 1,050 National Guard troops to ease hospital staff shortages amid COVID-19 surge

FILE - In this Nov. 18, 2020 file photo, Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine discusses the most recent data on Ohio's soaring coronavirus cases during a news briefing at John Glenn International Airport on  in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins, File)

The Ohio National Guard has once again been called into an unconventional battle against COVID-19.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has dispatched over 1,000 national guard troops to aid state hospitals suffering from staff shortages related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Governor DeWine mobilized 1,050 members of the Ohio National Guard to help relieve the hospital staffing strain caused by the rising number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients,” the governor stated.

The governor wrote Friday that 150 of the dispatched guard members are medical professionals who will assist directly at hospitals and testing sites.

Approximately 900 of the mobilized troops are largely intended to assist logistical shortages such as transporting patients and helping to distribute meals.

“Earlier in the pandemic, our concern was about beds, about space,” DeWine said during a Friday press conference. “Today, it is about personnel.”

Ohio hospitals are “pausing” the vaccine mandate for health care workers as the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 patients statewide drastically soars – though most facilities there still support the Biden administration’s federal mandate, which is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.