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Ohio National Guard will work to expand hospital capacity ahead of expected surge

The Ohio National Guard arrives at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank on Monday, March 23.
Posted at 3:29 PM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 15:34:46-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio National Guard will have a larger presence in Ohio’s biggest cities in the coming days after Gov. Mike DeWine asked teams of National Guard soldiers to help Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati prepare for the anticipated surge of coronavirus cases in the coming weeks.

DeWine said Wednesday that he asked the National Guard to send members to Ohio's three largest cities to work with healthcare experts and engineers to start planning and assessing the structures needed for the surge, which could see upwards of 8,000 cases a day by mid-May, according to modeling used by the Ohio Department of Health.

The National Guard will continue to work to expand the capacity of hospitals, possibly by converting college dorms, convention centers, closed hospitals and other unoccupied structures, DeWine said.

The National Guard has already been present in several Northeast Ohio communities; last week, soldiers arriived to help sort and distribute food at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and the Akron Foodbank.

RELATED: Members of Ohio National Guard arrive at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to distribute food