Four states enlist National Guard to help battle health care staffing crisis

Three states utilizing the National Guard – Maine, New York and New Hampshire – have some of the highest vaccination rates in the nation.

Updated: December 12, 2021 - 7:04pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Four states – Indiana, Maine,  New Hampshire and New York – are deploying the National Guard to battle the COVID-19 healthcare staffing shortage.

The staffing shortage rose sharply following the implementation of a vaccine mandate. Vaccination rates in New York, New Hampshire and Maine are some of the highest in the nation. More than 80% of people in these states have received at least one dose.

In New York, thousands of healthcare workers were placed on unpaid leave after refusing to get the shot. The Guard, under the direction of Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will send about 120 medical workers to 12 long-term care facilities, according to the Epoch Times.

About 75 Guard members from Maine were deployed by Gov. Janet Mills (D). Over the past week, the largest hospital in Maine has not had any available critical care beds. The New York Times reports that cases in Maine reached their pandemic peak recently.

In New Hampshire, about 70 National Guard members are providing medical support across the state. "If unfortunately during the winter months, the hospitalization rates continue to increase, we’ll be more than happy to provide additional resources,” National Guard Maj. Gen. David Mikolaities said according to Epoch Times.

Indiana called in the Guard last week to 13 facilities throughout the state following a request from Indiana University Health. The facility fired about 125 people who refused to comply with the school's COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The Hoosier State has a vaccination rate of 56.7 percent of residents having received at least one dose.

Other states are considering tapping the National Guard for assistance, such as Massachusetts, according to the New York Times.