Gov. Brown calls on National Guard as cases strain hospitals

SOUTHERN OREGON, —The governor is calling on the National Guard’s help again, as Omicron cases skyrocket, pushing hospitals to the brink. Governor Kate Brown announced Friday she will be deploying up to 500 Oregon National Guard members. The hope, to support frontline health care workers as hospitals brace for the rapid spread of Omicron.

Governor Brown says starting next week, an initial 125 members will be deployed around the state. They will provide a wide range of support to hospital operations. With the plan just announced publicly Friday morning, Rogue Valley guard members tell us, they’re still putting together all the pieces together.

“Times are still in flux any actual requirements of hospitals still need to be coordinated and worked out, that’s really what we know at this point in time, said Major Rob Ranit, with the 186 Infantry.

The governor called on the National Guard back in August during the surge in the Delta variant. More than 150 local members were split between Providence and Asante facilities, in Jackson and Josephine counties.

Major Ranit, says the remaining soldiers were demobilized just last month.

“Covid-19 has regrouped and is on the march across Oregon,” said state Epidemiologist, Dean Sidelinger

The Oregon Health Authority said Friday the Omicron wave is here. Sidelinger says the highly contagious variant is driving an alarming spike in COVID-19 infections, virus-related hospitalizations, and test positivity.

“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,” said Sidelinger

Sidelinger says there is some good news, we are better equipped to fight the virus than we were last year. He says the state has expanded its vaccine capacity and ramped up testing capacity as well.


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Jenna King is the 6pm and 11pm anchor for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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