Oregon will deploy up to 500 National Guard members in the coming weeks to support health care workers as Covid hospitalizations rise in the state, Gov. Kate Brown said Friday.
Ms. Brown said that beginning next week, a first deployment of 125 personnel would go to work at hospitals, providing logistical support such as moving equipment and assisting with testing.
“With more than 500 current hospitalizations and daily record-breaking numbers of Covid-19 cases, we are at another critical point in this pandemic,” Ms. Brown said in a statement.
Like other parts of the country, Oregon has recorded a rapid increase in infections since the arrival of the Omicron variant, with daily case counts now nearly double the previous peak over the summer. Covid hospitalizations are well below the summer peak but have started to rise again, up 40 percent since Christmas.
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University have projected that the hospitalization trend will continue and set new highs for the state by the end of the month. They encouraged people to avoid indoor gatherings, wear masks and get vaccinated or boosted as soon as possible.
“Anything Oregonians can do now to reduce the spread of the virus will help to preserve hospital capacity for those who need it most,” said Dr. Peter Graven, the director of the university’s Office of Advanced Analytics.
Ms. Brown’s office said the state would work with hospital systems to monitor the need for additional National Guard deployments.