Unvaxxed members put Ohio National Guard's aid into question
Ohio has reached something of a paradox stage of the pandemic.
- The state again set a new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations on Tuesday — 6,257, per the Ohio Hospital Association — a figure driven by unvaccinated Ohioans, leading to crowded hospitals and staff burnout.
- Gov. Mike DeWine has responded by mobilizing the Ohio National Guard to assist these hospitals.
Yes, but: With nearly half of its members unvaccinated, it's unclear how much help the Guard can be.
- Adjutant General John Harris Jr., who leads the Guard, is mandating that members be vaccinated by March 31.
State of play: DeWine had already deployed hundreds of Guard members to serve in hospitals in Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo. A Monday announcement of 1,250 additional members brings the total number asked to serve in health care facilities to 2,300.
- Hundreds are also needed to assist with nearly a dozen mass testing sites being set up across the state.
- The Columbus testing site is now open at the first floor of the parking garage at 2540 Olentangy River Road. Appointments are needed.
What they're saying: "End of March is a long time to wait to get ready, but I'm giving the soldiers the benefit of the doubt," Harris told the Statehouse News Bureau.
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