SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Beginning Monday, up to 500 National Guard members will help with non-clinical support at hospitals and ambulance companies around the state.
About 300 National Guard members will be deployed this week to help with hospital transportation, food service, and security. An additional 200 guardsmen will remain on standby incase the situation at local hospitals gets worse.
Locally, Mercy Medical Center says they don’t currently have any National Guards members, but they’ll welcome any help.
“There are many different areas of the facility and operations that could use support. Food service, security… there are a variety of functions that National Guard members may be able to fulfill a very important service for us and we would look to take advantage of that if more became available,” said Chief Medical Officer of Mercy Medical Center, Dr. Robert Roose.
Also changing Monday, nonessential elective surgeries will be canceled or postponed.
“It’s up to the individual surgeons to decide what can and what should or should not be delayed. And it really pertains to those types of surgeries that could result in an inpatient stay,” said Dr. Roose.
The goal is to maintain and increase inpatient capacity and beds that are available for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
“It is something that changes shift by shift, day by day based on the number of staff that you have,” added. Dr. Roose.
The state will review the order by January 31st to consider if it will be lifted or continued. In the meantime, they do encourage people to continue their routine and necessary healthcare appointments.
The Governor began the National Guard training last week to help with what DPH is calling a ‘blizzard of new infections.’ Massachusetts recorded its highest single-day of infections last on Friday with more than 10,000 new cases.
Health professionals across the Commonwealth expect case numbers to continue to increase through the New Year and that’s why they are putting pressure on Governor Baker to reinstate an indoor mask mandate. Baker continues to push back on that proposal, arguing that the state’s high vaccination rate and access to testing will protect residents through the omicron surge.