National Guard receives briefing from Providence and Asante in Medford, ready for ‘important mission’

MEDFORD, Ore — The Oregon Army National Guard are moving in to help hospitals throughout Jackson and Josephine counties this weekend.

Sectional leaders received a rundown from Providence and Asante officials Friday afternoon about their role. The leaders will go over the game-plan with their soldiers, in preparation for their first day Saturday.

One of the National Guard members said its an unusual role for them, but are ready for the challenge.

We all knew that this was an important mission and the support that we’re giving out to the hospitals is greatly needed,” 1st Sgt. Evan Garner told NBC5. “It’s unique for us so far because everything that we usually do are floods, snow, firefighting. That’s the typical National Guard mission that we’ve had over the years.”  

RELATED: Oregon National Guard prepares to help overwhelmed Rogue Valley hospitals Friday

According to Asante, the guards were deployed as nonclinical and will be helping with staffing needs in the hospitals, contact center, and urgent care locations. They will be split between the facilities in Jackson and Josephine counties, assisting in areas such as nutrition services, materials management, environmental services, security, and the covid hotline.

The selected areas are critically understaffed.

“We’ve been really struggling to continue to take care of our community during all of this,” Jackie DeSilva, Emergency Preparedness Manager with Asante, said. “We’re so thankful that they’re here.” 

Asante announced new visitor restrictions Friday amid the surge in hospitalizations. Visitors are barred from entering and patients in the emergency department are allowed one guest. 

“The situation in the hospitals is quite dire, I wont lie its very stressful,” DeSilva said. “Our hearts break every single day seeing our frontline staff that are out there doing the best they can. Working long hours, doing the best they can to help our community.” 

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Anthony Carter
Anthony Carter is a reporter for NBC5 News. He grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and graduated from Elizabethtown College in 2019. Anthony started his career as a print journalist, covering New York sports and the NBA Draft. He then started his own sports podcast and website covering the Arena Football League. Anthony moved to the Rogue Valley in 2019 as a news producer before joining the NBC5 News family. Anthony likes to workout at the gym, play basketball, and root for his Atlanta Hawks and New York Jets. Want to connect with Anthony? send him an email: [email protected]