WISCONSIN — Hospitals and health care workers have been overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant. Now, Governor Tony Evers is taking an additional step to relieve some of that pressure.
Evers announced Thursday that National Guard members will be undergoing new training to become certified nursing assistants. This week, around 50 National Guard members were deployed to nursing homes.
At the end of January, 80 more will have finished their training and will be sent to hospitals and nursing homes across the state. Evers said another 80 members will begin training in early February and will be deployed the end of that month.
The training is through a partnership with Madison College, Evers said.
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“As we continue to see COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge, we are pursuing every available option to bring needed staffing support to Wisconsin’s health systems,” Gov. Evers said in a statement.
The Wisconsin National Guard confirmed they have troops currently assisting at the following facilities:
-Wisconsin Dells Health Services – Wisconsin Dells
-Department of Veterans Affairs – Union Grove
-Department of Veterans Affairs – King
-Hillview Health Clinic – La Crosse
-The Bay at St. Ann – Milwaukee
-Mineral Point Health – Mineral Point
The additional assistance comes on top of the 626 nurses, nursing assistants, and other types of health care workers who have been recruited to support 76 health and residential care facilities.
“As cases of Omicron continue to surge, this support is critical for supporting Wisconsin’s nursing homes,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. "Our new partnership with Madison College and the Wisconsin National Guard will help us ensure Wisconsinites have access to the care they need and help us increase critical healthcare capacity.”
On Thursday alone, Wisconsin added a record 13,004 new confirmed COVID-19 cases. A news release from Evers said Wisconsin is also seeing a record number of patients in intensive care units with COVID-19, at 488.
“Our healthcare providers are beyond exhausted. We simply do not have enough staff to care for all those who are ill,” said Dr. Lisa Greenwood, Madison College’s associate dean of nursing. “This historic partnership between Madison College and the National Guard is critical in providing Wisconsin communities and the healthcare industry the help they desperately need in the fight against COVID-19.”