ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — National Guard troops are responding to strained North Carolina hospitals.
25 guardsmen arrived at Alamance Regional Hospital Thursday morning to provide help as local hospitals continue to deal with staffing shortages and increased workloads because of COVID.
National Guard personnel could begin filling into their roles as soon as Friday. There are a few more training sessions they need to go through
“We’re very adaptable in what we do,” Major Kyle Dietrich said. “Every guardsman and airman have civilian occupations they bring to the table as well as military. We’re constantly evolving and adapting, and this is just a new opportunity to get in and help out .”
Since the start of the pandemic, the National Guard has helped in many ways, including distributing food and helping run COVID-19 testing sites. This is the first time they will see first-hand what hospitals across the country are dealing with.
“Up until now, we haven’t been able to be inside the hospitals. We have been in mostly testing sites. Yesterday when we spoke to all the soldiers here for the first time, they were just overwhelmed with excitement to put their training to use,” Dietrich said.
In their roles, they will help with checking vital signs, EKG procedures, data entry, COVID-19 testing, patient check-ins, meal delivery, environmental services support and transportation.
Hospital leaders like Mark Gordan, president of Alamance Regional Hospital, say this will help take some strain off caregivers who have worked around the clock because of staffing shortages.
“Our caregivers have a lot on their plates. And the things they don’t necessarily need to do, they can use their skills and assets,” Gordan said. “All those things we can give them relief from doing, we’re glad the guard can help us with those.”
He says it’s a relief to see the men and women in uniform.
“These individuals have let their employment, left their jobs and their families, so they’re doing what our caregivers had to do.,” he said. “They’re also demonstrating they’re in the same boat with us. It’s inspiring to see them here and see the sacrifice they are giving up helping serve us, so we really appreciate that.”
The guardsmen are scheduled to assist the Alamance Regional Hospital until Friday, March 4.