Indiana deploys National Guard to help beleaguered hospitals

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The Indiana National Guard is fanning out to overstressed hospitals across the state to help with patient care and general help, as the number of deaths from COVID-19 in Indiana climbed this week above 15,000.

The Indiana Department of Health said Wednesday that the state sent National Guard teams to Ascension St. Vincent Hospital Indianapolis on West 86th Street, Deaconess Hospital in Evansville and Clark Memorial Hospital in Jeffersonville. It will also be deploying a team to two campuses of Methodist Hospital in northwest Indiana.

Dr. Kris Box, the state health commissioner, said the National Guard teams are going to hospitals that have “exhausted all other options to staff their beds.”

“Beds and staffing are stretched to capacity or beyond capacity in many hospitals,” she said at a press briefing in a parking lot across from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the health department had set up more than a dozen tents for COVID-19 vaccine and testing.

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 have gradually declined in Indiana in recent weeks, but the total hospital census for 2021 has surpassed 2020 and 2019, Box said, as many hospitals have begun resuming non-COVID-19 surgeries and procedures that they delayed during the surge.

The National Guard units that are working in hospitals consist of 10 soldiers each: four medics and six general support staff.

The medics’ duties consist of helping with intravenous care and blood draws under a nurse’s direction, along with administering EKGs, providing immunizations and COVID-19 testing, and helping respiratory therapy.

The general support staff is helping clean rooms so they can be turned over quickly for the next patients, Box said. They are also helping with other general duties so the nurses can remain with the patients at their bedside.

Box said the need for testing and vaccination remains strong, even as signs emerge that Indiana might be coming out of the recent surge caused by the delta variant.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Indiana has dropped for the third straight week. The seven-day positivity rate has dropped and now stands at less than 10 percent for the first time in weeks.

“We don’t expect these declines to be linear,” Box said. “We may see cases bounce back up and down. If you look at other states, that’s what they see, kind of a saw-toothed pattern. That is the nature of this disease. However, a decline for three weeks is certainly a cause for optimism.”

Yet only 56% of Indiana’s eligible population has been vaccinated, and more than 95% of new COVID-19 cases are among people who have not been vaccinated.

The state is offering PCR and rapid antigen testing, along with vaccines for COVID-19 and flu. The tests and vaccines are free and available noon to 8 p .m. Tuesday through Saturday until Oct. 30.

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17 thoughts on “Indiana deploys National Guard to help beleaguered hospitals

  1. Who is paying the NG folks for them being at the hospital? the hospital VOLUNTARILY fired their employees. therefore the hospital should be paying the NG, not the taxpayer.

  2. Research the Rome Declaration signed by more than 4,600 doctors and scientists calling out the cruel evil madness of how globalist governments are managing and making a weaponized crisis politically out of the Plandemic and having nothing to do with science.

  3. “going to hospitals that have “exhausted all other options to staff their beds.”

    uh … not quite. They could stop requiring vaccination for employees who have experiential immunity.
    These so-called health “professionals” are quite disgraceful.

    1. Wesley H: and just what do you do for a living? You always seem to have an opinion…a feeling that you are an expert…plenty of wise cracks…

      Yes they start in November but people are being scared into getting a vaccine they do not want – to save their job and they are being strongly encouraged by leadership and management to get them earlier than November. Is this happening to you? Nurses and doctors are leaving their jobs for this? Why doesn’t this speak volumes to you?

      A year ago health care workers were heroes (except we’re not treated like it) and today they have become pawns in a political power game that they did not sign up for! And, if we don’t watch out, we might have more deaths caused by nursing and doctor shortages across Indiana and the country than COVID.

  4. What about not firing healthcare professionals for exercising their own free choice? I’m wondering if that option has been exhausted? Why wasn’t a testing option offered to these folks, who last year were called heroes, but now are deemed unfit to do their jobs? Also, by the manufacturers own admissions, these “vaccines” do not prevent one from carrying or getting Covid, so what is this really all about?

  5. IBJ’s data has 2200 Covid hospitalizations Statewide and about 78% of ICU in use , Covid and non Covid. Ignoring the elective treatments not happening at the moment, let’s say the 2200 patients are incremental.
    Can someone explain how 2200 incremental patients spread over the entire State is somehow bringing the hospital system to its knees?

  6. These inept rules for nurses/ caregivers in the hospital network regarding mandatory vaccination have forced many qualified people out of local service and many have elected to become travel nurses or agency services. Big money for these folks and no mandatory vaccinations

  7. For all who are so distressed about this – it’s 50 guards across the state. By comparison, IU Health alone has 36,000 employees. Completely inconsequential. Not necessary to have a strong opinion about everything – emotional energy better spent on constructive endeavors.