COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) — The Ohio National Guard said Thursday it is helping assess locations for “alternative medical facilities.”
The move comes as Gov. Mike DeWine requested the Ohio National Guard expand its support during the COVID-19 response in order to help determine the infrastructure required to meet the state’s anticipated increased need for medical facilities.
The Ohio National Guard said it is partnering with the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio Emergency Management Agency, and the Ohio Department of Administrative Services to assess potential sites for alternate medical facilities. Officers from the Ohio National Guard and additional service members with special training in engineering and construction will assess a variety of sites, ranging from unused state-owned facilities and commercial buildings to hotels and dormitories. The ONG said this assessment will allow the governor and state officials to evaluate how to expand medical capacity around Ohio.
“We know that some models show we will need two or even three times the number of hospital beds than we have now in order to treat COVID-19 patients as this virus spreads,” Gov. DeWine said. “I have asked General Harris to send some members of the National Guard to Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati to start planning and assessing the structures needed for the anticipated surge.”
Assessments will also be conducted in other locations across the state and will include acquiring a clear understanding of the facility, equipment, and personnel requirements needed to support Ohio hospital systems during the COVID-19 response.
“Governor DeWine is employing innovative approaches to battle COVID-19 that include full engagement of the private sector, and a regional approach to optimize medical resources as we get closer to the peak of this virus,” said Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., Ohio adjutant general. “We are fighting an enemy that just a few short months ago was unknown. We are united with the state in doing our part to help combat the virus, and we are ready to assist with this and other missions as is needed.”
No site has been confirmed as an expansion site, while local, state, and health care partners continue to work together to provide a clear picture of each region’s health situation and potential.
Approximately 500 Ohio National Guard and Ohio Military Reserve members continue to support 12 food bank warehouses across the state, which provide food to Ohioans in all 88 counties. They are sorting, packing, and delivering food to the state’s most vulnerable populations. To date, they have distributed more than 2.4 million pounds of food, according to the Ohio National Guard.