Updated 2:08 pm
With a surge in COVID-19 cases across the state, Gov. Charlie Baker activated up to 500 Massachusetts National Guard service members on Monday to give support to 55 acute-care hospitals, including Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. The National Guard troops will also provide support to 12 ambulance service providers throughout the state.
Claire Seguin, chief nurse and chief operating officer at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, confirmed the deployment in a press release to The Times.
“Two members of the National Guard were deployed to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital on Monday to assist with non-clinical duties, such as traffic control and patient transport,” the hospital press release states. “The length of their stay will be determined based on the hospital’s needs.”
According to a press release issued by Gov. Baker’s office, the activation of the National Guard is a part of an effort to combat the recent rise in COVID cases. The increase in cases throughout the state has caused difficulties for many hospitals, such as staffing shortages and a lack of beds for patients. Martha’s Vineyard experienced a spike during December with 76 new cases during the week of December 5 and increased to a record high of 112 new cases during the week of December 19. The week following the record high saw a decrease with 82 new cases. Martha’s Vineyard saw 375 COVID cases in December so far, much higher than the 287 cases during the tourist months of July and August.
The Massachusetts DPH and the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association collaborated to identify “five key roles that non-clinical Guard personnel can serve in support [of] hospital operations for up to 90 days,” according to the press release. These roles include non-emergency transport between facilities, watching over patients at risk of self-harm, security support, in-hospital transportation, and food service and tray delivery support.
Updated with the correct number of COVID cases.