NEWS | Feb. 2, 2022

Utah National Guard to assist long-term care facilities, amid omicron surge

By Ileen Kennedy Utah National Guard

The Utah National Guard’s COVID-19 Joint Task Force activated approximately 50 service members to assist long-term care facilities statewide, amid the omicron surge.

The increase in COVID-19 cases from the omicron variant has affected the Utah healthcare system causing staff shortages in hospitals and long-term care facilities. The Utah Department of Health requested additional Guard support for affected facilities through February.

"Utah National Guard members have provided invaluable assistance to the UDOH during the pandemic across multiple mission areas," said Dr. Michelle Hofmann, Utah Department of Health deputy director. "We appreciate their hard work and dedication."

The additional service members will attend a two-day training course coordinated by the Utah Department of Health through Avalon Healthcare Group.  The course, Nurse Aide Training and Competency Evaluation Program, is approved by the Utah Nurse Aide Registry. Upon completion of this training, each service member will meet the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services requirements to provide nursing-aide-related services under the general supervision of a licensed nurse.

Guard members will be assigned to a facility for one-to-two weeks at a time, and rotated as needed to other facilities experiencing outbreaks and staffing shortages throughout the state.

“Our Soldiers and Airmen are dedicated to supporting the state of Utah and our health care community partners,” said Brig. Gen. Dar Craig, director of joint staff. “We are proud to do our part to alleviate the burden of health care facilities affected by the rapid spread of the omicron variant.”

The Utah National Guard remains a prepared, capable, skilled, community-based force comprised of approximately 7,300 trained citizen-Soldiers and Airmen who are always ready to support emergencies and operations both locally and worldwide.

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