Governor Activates Wyoming National Guard to Assist Hospitals Due to COVID-19 Surge
Governor Gordon has activated the Wyoming National Guard to provide assistance to Wyoming hospitals who are dealing with a surge of COVID-19 patients.
The Governor's office stated that there are approximately 200 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Wyoming which, the Governor's office notes, is "near the peak number the state has seen during the pandemic."
Gordon has called on approximately 95 Soldiers and Airmen to State Active Duty orders. They have been assigned to hospital locations at 24 different sites within 16 Wyoming cities. The Governor's office revealed that service members will be deployed to the following cities: Cheyenne, Casper, Gillette, Rock Springs, Laramie, Jackson, Evanston, Sheridan, Buffalo, Powell, Lovell, Cody, Newcastle, Douglas, Wheatland, and Thermopolis.
These servicemen will have a variety of responsibilities while on duty, including: assisting in environmental cleanup in hospital facilities, food and nutrition service, COVID-19 screening, managing personal protective equipment (PPE), and various other tasks that come up on an as-needed basis. Additionally, some servicemen will be trained to administer COVID-19 tests.
“The Delta variant has overwhelmed the medical institutions of states across this country. Our state is no different with most hospitals at or near capacity,” said Col. David Pritchett, director of the joint staff for the Wyoming National Guard. “The Soldiers and Airmen of the Wyoming National Guard are proud to jump back in to provide much needed assistance to our communities as we continue to battle the effects of COVID-19.”
This is not the first time the Wyoming National Guard has offered their assistance to hospitals in need. In December of 2020, members of the 153rd Airlift Wing of the Wyoming National Guard were deployed to Casper, offering their assistance to Wyoming Medical Center during the previous heights of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It feels awesome to help Wyoming Medical Center,” said Command Chief Darren Nogle, upon their arrival. “While we do deploy overseas when called, the core of our mission is to represent and serve our state. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me because, while this is my fourth active duty assignment in Wyoming, it is my first time serving my hometown. And that is really important to me, as I’m sure it’s important to the other members as well.”
Orders for the guardsmen will be 14-30 day rotations, with the potential to extend beyond that until December 31. The Governor's office notes that the locations of guardsmen may change based on hospital needs.
“I am grateful to the members of our Wyoming National Guard for once again answering the call to provide assistance in our hospitals during this surge,” Governor Gordon said. “Our Guard members truly are Wyoming’s sword and shield, and their commitment to our state is something for which every Wyoming citizen can be thankful.”