Workplace violence continues to grow as a threat to front-line healthcare workers, support staff and even patients, and the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic is only adding to the simmering tension in many healthcare facilities. To address the situation, one state is sending in reinforcements.
Soldiers from the Oregon Army National Guard recently gathered at the Medford Armory to hear details of their latest deployment: to local hospitals, understaffed and overwhelmed by a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the delta variant, according to The Oregonian.
The 300 men and women will perform non-medical work, such as being a uniformed presence in anxiety-filled waiting rooms in their communities, including at Asante hospitals in Medford, Ashland and Grants Pass as well as Providence Medical Center Medford and CHI Mercy Health in Roseburg.
This is the second time the group has been mobilized to help local medical teams battle the coronavirus pandemic. They helped people getting vaccinated at the Jackson County Expo in Central Point when walk-in and drive-through clinics were open earlier this year.
At this point, no field hospitals have been set up to ease conditions at the medical centers in southern Oregon.But representatives from Asante have asked the state for one, said Ryan Hutchinson, incident commander and integrated operations facilitator for Providence Medford Medical Center. He said multiple regions are making similar requests to the state, which will then prioritize them as they ask for more assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Chris Pizzi, chief executive of Providence Medford, said the National Guard will radio hospital security if a situation escalates but will not step in.