Gov. Mills activates more Maine National Guard members to help hospitals

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 2:05 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WMTW) - Gov. Janet Mills announced Tuesday that she is activating up to an additional 169 members of the Maine National Guard to help hospitals dealing with record COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The Guard members will serve in non-clinical roles, which will free up clinical staff to care for patients, Mills said.

The governor said the Guard members’ work will also open additional beds at nursing facilities, in swing bed units and at other “decompression sites” that accept patients discharged from hospitals.

That would allow hospitals to discharge more patients into those facilities.

Maine set a record on Monday with more than 400 people in the state’s hospitals with the virus. As of Tuesday, hospitalizations had dropped slightly to 395 but remained historically high.

“I wish we did not have to take this step, but the rise in hospitalizations – caused primarily by those who are not vaccinated – is stretching the capacity of our health care system thin, jeopardizing care for Maine people, and putting increased strain on our already exhausted health care workers,” Mills said in a statement.

The National Guard members will deploy next week and remain in service through the end of February.

Information on exactly where the Guard members will be deployed will be released later this week.

Last month, the governor deployed 100 National Guard members to help Maine hospitals.

Mills also announced on Tuesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved her request for Federal COVID-19 Surge Response Teams for MaineHealth in Portland and Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

The two teams, consisting of seven federally contracted nurses and pharmacists, began arriving Monday and are scheduled to stay through Jan. 27.

Three clinicians will go to MaineHealth while four will go to CMMC, where they will administer COVID-19 vaccines, freeing up Maine clinicians to provide patient care.

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