As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, Oregon Governor on Friday announced that 1,500 National Guard troops would assist healthcare workers. The National Guards are being sent to hospitals across the state which have been pushed to the brink with a surge in COVID-19 cases. The rise in COVID-19 cases across the US is driven by the Delta variant of coronavirus. The Delta variant is the most infectious strain of the virus yet.
There are 733 people hospitalized with the virus in Oregon as of Friday, including 185 people in intensive care units — more than 60 people more than just a day before and nearly double what the number was two weeks ago.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat, announced that the first batch of National Guards will be deployed next Friday. The 500 Guard members would aid hospitals in sourcing material and equipment, among other things. Theya re also expected to help with COVID-19 testing. In the first batch, troops will be sent to 20 of the most stricken hospitals.
"I cannot emphasize enough the seriousness of this crisis for all Oregonians, especially those needing emergency and intensive care," Brown said, reiterating that message. "When our hospitals are full with COVID-19 patients, there may not be room for someone needing care after a car crash, a heart attack, or other emergency situation."
The Delta variant now makes up 96% of all samples tested, up from just 15% six weeks ago, according to Oregon Health Authority data.
The Joe Biden administration, in the meanwhile, has ramped up efforts to get all Americans vaccinated. In the last couple of months, the vaccination rates across the US have dropped drastically. Biden has mandated the vaccine for all federal workers.
The administration is also collaborating with pop artists and social media stars in a bid to encourage young people to take the jab.