Oregon National Guard prepares to help overwhelmed Rogue Valley hospitals Friday

ROGUE VALLEY, Ore — With hospitals on the brink of full capacity across the state, local members on the Oregon Army National Guard are gearing up to help with the crisis.

During a press briefing Thursday, Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Health Authority officials announced that teachers, school staff and health care workers will be required to be vaccinated. At the beginning of the conference, Governor Brown cited the issue at hospitals, as beds and ICUS are more than 93% full.

“I am devoting all available resources to help,” said Governor Brown.

RELATED: Gov. Kate Brown requiring teachers, school staff and health care workers to be vaccinated

Nearly 1,500 National Guard members have been deployed to support the hospitals. Many of the members received their assignments at the Medford Armory Thursday and will begin operations Friday.

About all of the members live in different counties throughout southern Oregon.

“It’s one of the benefits of the Oregon National Guard,” Lieutenant Colonel Paul Dyer, Battalion Commander of the 1-186 Infantry, told NBC5. “On a minute’s notice we’re activated to serving the communities we live in.” 

On Thursday, the Oregon Health Authority announced the state will receive 24 EMT paramedics through FEMA. The medics will support six different hospital emergency departments throughout the state.

According to the release, Asante-Rogue Valley Medical in Jackson and Josephine Counties will each receive five paramedics. Providence in Medford and Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg will also receive four paramedics to help.

In September, the state is sending nurse crisis teams to move certain patients from hospitals to long term care facilities in an effort to free up beds. The first team will start September 6th in Roseburg and the next team will be in Medford September 9th.

“The Oregon Health Authority and our partners are working to shore up the two most important parts of a functioning hospital system – patient beds and the people who staff them.” Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority, said during the press conference. “We need to ask every Oregonian to help. We can blunt this surge and save our hospitals if unvaccinated adults get immunized, and we all wear mask when we’re in indoor public places.” 

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