CLEVELAND — If you begin to see an influx of uniformed members of the National Guard in your neighborhood soon, don't panic. As the COVID-19 virus spreads across Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine is deploying every resource at his disposal to try and fight the coronavirus, and in doing so has requested the expansion of support from the Ohio National Guard.
The Ohio National Guard is working with the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio Emergency Management Agency and the Ohio Department of Administrative Services to assess potential sites for the expansion of medical facilities across the state.
With the expanded support from the Ohio National Guard, officer and additional service members with special training in construction and engineering will asses sites including unused state-owned facilities and commercial building, dorms, and hotels to see which could be used as alternate medical facilities for when the surge of COVID-19 cases inevitable hits.
“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,” 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.”
At this time, there are approximately 500 Ohio National Guard and Ohio Military Reserve members supporting 12 food bank warehouses across the state.
“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.”