Special to 1812Blockhouse
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on Monday that the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio National Guard, and the Ohio Hospital Association will expand COVID-19 testing locations in nine Ohio cities, including several new locations, starting this week. The additional testing locations will be mobilized with support from Ohio National Guard personnel. The locations, which are intended to divert testing traffic from hospital emergency rooms, come as the state is experiencing the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations during the pandemic. Today, the Ohio Hospital Association reported a record-setting 6,177 inpatient hospitalizations.
“As the demand for COVID-19 testing increases, adding to the pressure our hospitals are facing, members of the Ohio National Guard will continue to play a critical role in the state’s response,” said Governor DeWine. “I commend Guard members for their commitment to their fellow Ohioans as they answer the call to serve.”
About 300 members of the Ohio National Guard will provide support at the additional testing sites, which will be operated in partnership with Ohio hospitals and health networks.
While the testing centers are critical to the state’s effort to decompress high volumes at hospitals around the state, the majority of Ohio National Guard members will remain in hospitals providing direct clinical care and non-clinical support.
Last week, Governor DeWine ordered the mobilization of an additional 1,250 members of the Ohio National Guard to support Ohio’s hospitals experiencing the most critical needs across the state, bringing the total deployment of National Guard members working with Ohio’s healthcare systems to 2,300 members.
The Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Hospital Association are evaluating the situation in Ohio’s hospitals daily to assess and maximize staffing to ensure Guard members are assisting in locations with the most critical needs. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients and testing needs change every day, and staffing adjustments are being made accordingly.
At this time, the Ohio National Guard has either been deployed or will soon be deployed to support the following testing locations:
More details about these testing locations are forthcoming.
Maintaining up-to-date vaccination remains the best tool against COVID-19 hospitalization and death. As Ohio is experiencing record-setting hospitalizations amid the spread of the Delta and Omicron variants, it’s critical that Ohioans follow prevention strategies including getting vaccinated, getting a booster shot if eligible, wearing face masks, washing hands frequently, getting tested, and staying home if sick, even if symptoms are mild.
COVID-19 vaccines are widely available throughout the state at doctor’s offices, community vaccine clinics, hospitals, community health centers, pharmacies, and more. And many local health departments are expanding hours and availability to assist Ohioans in getting the shot. For example, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus health departments host clinics in various community facilities and have flexible hours, including evenings and weekends. The Toledo Lucas County Health Department provides COVID-19 shots weekdays at their downtown office and at The Rec Center on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, and Dayton-Montgomery County health departments all offer COVID-19 shots at community sites with flexible hours.
More than 7 million Ohioans have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That is 63% of all eligible Ohioans, and 70% of Ohio adults. In addition, more than 2.7 million have received a booster dose. It is important to complete the series of recommended doses, including booster doses when eligible, to receive maximum protection from serious illness, including hospitalization or death.
Statewide, many providers offer walk-in appointments, or Ohioans can schedule a vaccination appointment at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov. Ohioans who want to learn more about COVID-19 testing, and the safety, efficacy, and side effects of COVID-19 vaccines should talk to their doctor, nurse, or pharmacist, or visit coronavirus.ohio.gov/vaccine.