Medical Technology

National Guard Supports Virus-Sapped Countries, Hospitals

More states in the US are calling for National Guard and other military personnel as they attempt to defend themselves against COVID-19.

In some states, hospitals are overwhelmed by patients who have become sick from refusing to be vaccinated particularly in the Northeastern and Upper Midwest. New York announced Monday a five-week indoor mask order which will be in force during the festive season.

“We’re in a period of uncertainty, and we may be able to either slow down or our cases could spiral out of control,” Gov. Friday’s warning was delivered by Kathy Hochul

Elizabeth Hertel, Michigan’s health director, was as blunt as well: “I want you to be absolutely clear: Without a vaccine, you are at risk of serious illness, hospitalization, and even death.”

The average of seven days for daily new cases in the U.S. rose over the past two weeks to 117,677 on Thursday, in contrast to 84,756 as of Nov. 25, Thanksgiving Day, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has increased to about 54,000 on average according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The country is on the verge of a new milestone of 800,000. More than 200 million Americans are now fully vaccinated. That represents about 60 percent of the population.

Maine was hit by the pandemic this week with more than 400 COVID-19-infected patients in hospitals. 75 National Guard members were summoned to help keep people from being in critical medical care. They also took on other non-clinical tasks.

Maine is home to one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the country 73%however, that rate is lower in many of the state’s rural areas.

The New York National Guard said it had sent 120 Army medics and Air Force medical technicians to 12 nursing homes and long-term care facilities to relieve the fatigued staff.

Dr. Paolo Marciano is the chief medical officer at Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn, Michigan. He stated that it was an “tremendous assistance line” to get assistance from the Defense Department. The department includes more than 60 nurses, doctors, and respiratory therapists.

“It allowed us to to care for the COVID patients and at the same time still maintain the level of care that patients with cancer require or suffering from chronic illnesses,” Marciano said. “Where we are today is simply keeping our heads above water.”

New York’s mask law applies to indoor public spaces, unless the business or venue has a vaccination requirement. The state reported more than 68,000 positive tests for the virus in seven days which ended on Wednesday the highest number of positive tests in any seven-day period since February.

New York City and several upstate New York counties already have mask mandates. Some critics said that the governor’s announcement was a burden on businesses.

Mike Lawler, Republican Assemblyman Mike Lawler, a Republican Assemblyman “Government overreach is at its most extreme.”

Michigan is sending more ventilators to hospitals, and is requesting more from the stockpile of national supplies. Infection rates and hospitalizations are at record levels, 21 months into the pandemic. The first case of the omicron variant was confirmed on Thursday in the Grand Rapids area.

This week, Indiana’s biggest hospital system called the National Guard to provide support. This is at a time where COVID-19 patient numbers have more than doubled in the last month. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Indiana has risen to levels higher than the August spike in Indiana and are nearing the peak of the pandemic in late 2020.

Associated Press reporters David Eggert in Lansing, Michigan, and Carolyn Thompson in Buffalo, N.Y. Contributed to this story.

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