By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Gov. Mark Gordon is activating the Wyoming National Guard to temporarily assist with local hospitals due to a high number of COVID patients.
As of Monday, there were 202 COVID patients hospitalized across the state, according to Wyoming’s hospitalization tracker.
Gordon has called approximately 95 soldiers and airmen to active duty, assigning them to hospital facilities at 24 different sites within 17 Wyoming cities.
They will assist hospital and Wyoming Department of Health staff to help ease workloads imposed upon them due to large numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations, Gordon said.
“I am grateful to the members of our Wyoming National Guard for once again answering the call to provide assistance in our hospitals during this surge,” he said. “Our Guard members truly are Wyoming’s sword and shield, and their commitment to our state is something for which every Wyoming citizen can be thankful.”
Guard members’ responsibilities will include: assisting in environmental cleanup in hospital facilities; food and nutrition service; COVID-19 screening; managing personal protective equipment supplies and other support tasks.
Some will also be trained to administer COVID-19 tests.
“The Delta variant has overwhelmed the medical institutions of states across this country. Our state is no different with most hospitals at or near capacity,” said Col. David Pritchett, director of the joint staff for the Wyoming National Guard. “The Soldiers and Airmen of the Wyoming National Guard are proud to jump back in to provide much needed assistance to our communities as we continue to battle the effects of COVID-19.”
The orders for guardsmen will be 14-30 day rotations, with the potential to extend beyond that, up until Dec. 31. The numbers and locations of guardsmen may change based on hospital needs.
This is the second time the governor has activated the National Guard to help with strained Wyoming hospitals. In November, when Wyoming had record levels of COVID patients, Gordon deployed the guard to the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center to assist hospital staff.