COLUMBUS, Ohio — Less than two weeks after ordering 1,050 National Guard members to help at the state's hospitals, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has ordered 1,250 more National Guard members to do the same.
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DeWine made the announcement at a press briefing on Wednesday to address the state's ongoing battle with COVID-19. The Governor said he met early Wednesday morning with hospital leaders from across the state, who made the request for more help amid staffing issues.
According to DeWine, the recent surge association with the virus' omicron variant has put a strain on the staffing and capacity of hospitals across the state. DeWine said that Ohio hospitals currently have more COVID-19 patients than at any other point since the start of the pandemic. DeWine also shared that 92.5 percent of COVID-19 hospital patients since June 1 -- when the COVID-19 vaccine was first widely available to the general public -- have been unvaccinated.
“Today we have more Ohioans in the hospital with COVID… than we’ve had at any other time in the pandemic," DeWine said. “What we are seeing in Ohio, in our hospitals is driven by the unvaccinated.”
A Cleveland Clinic physician described what it looks like in Cuyahoga County.
"The first word when I see the scene in the hospital is just gruesome. We are just seeing such high numbers of severe illness, suffering, death," Dr. Joseph Khabbaza said.
DeWine, as well as hospital leaders and nurses from across the state, encouraged those who remain unvaccinated to get vaccinated and, if eligible, receive their booster shots. You can watch DeWine's full press briefing in the video player below.