Utah National Guard to assist in St. George Regional Hospital

Feb 8, 2022, 11:46 AM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 4:03 pm

ST. GEORGE, Utah — The Utah National Guard announced their COVID-19 Joint Task Force has activated additional service members to assist in non-clinical roles at Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital.

According to a release from Intermountain Healthcare, this non-clinical assistance is needed at the hospital as patient numbers have spiked to the highest levels of the pandemic to date due to the latest omicron surge. This increase of cases has “significantly impacted staffing,” and the hope is that the Utah National Guard can help alleviate some of the strain on healthcare workers.

The release states this is the first deployment of the National Guard personnel in a hospital setting in Utah.

“It’s been a long slog and we’ve worked really hard,” said Mark Evans, the operations officer for Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital. “We are so grateful. I really can’t overstate how grateful we are to have support for a few weeks to give our caregivers a little break.”

Evans said the hospital has been at capacity for months and needs the Guard members to help with housekeeping, food services, and patient transport.

“We appreciate the hard work that the hospitals and long-term care facilities have done through the last two years, and we are proud to be members of the community of hardworking citizens,” said LTC Erick Wiedmeier, commander, Utah National Guard COVID-19 Joint Task Force.

Wiedmeier said he hopes the Guard members’ assistance will alleviate some of the stress among staff at the hospital. For now, the plan is to help at St. George Regional Hospital until April 1.

The Utah Department of Health said the Guard members have provided invaluable help to the department during the pandemic.

“Early in the response, the Utah Guard was instrumental in the activation of our alternate care site at the Mountain America Expo Center, and now, we rely on them for the first deployment into one of Utah’s hospitals,” said a statement from Kevin McCulley, Utah Department of Health director of preparedness and response. “This support has been essential throughout the response, and even more so as they activate to support healthcare facilities.”

In addition to the 11 Guard members helping in St. George, last week, the Utah National Guard activated 50 members to help at long-term care facilities across Utah during February.

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Utah National Guard to assist in St. George Regional Hospital