National Guard could fill labor shortage in WNY nursing homes


BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) Some members of the National Guard who have medical training may soon begin helping in nursing homes across the state. The effort, announced Monday by Governor Kathy Hochul, aims to provide more beds in nursing homes that have declared themselves “full.”

Now that the Omicron virus is in Ontario, it is only a matter of time before it is found in western New York, according to Governor Hochul, who says his main concern remains hospital capacity. She says hospital capacity is 10% lower than it was a year ago. That’s why she ordered any hospital with less than 10% capacity to stop elective surgeries from Friday. And because many nursing homes are packed, she plans to deploy members of the National Guard to help.

“We looked at our National Guard resources,” Hochul said. “We know there are numbers that have an EMT training or health care history and we can deploy them in a targeted fashion to nursing homes and health facilities where they are in short supply.”

Longer term, members of the National Guard who do not have medical training will be encouraged to start receiving EMT training in January, according to Hochul. “It’s a longer term solution, but it will also be very helpful if they have to respond to a natural disaster, hurricane or storm, whether they have that training.”

Hochul said she supported Mark Poloncarz’s decision on a mask warrant for Erie County but did not believe it was statewide necessary. “I know that’s how we’re going to come out of there with a stronger economic recovery, not having closures is necessary, not having demands where they aren’t needed.”

New York State Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt hopes to strike that balance by keeping so much of the state open while protecting the most vulnerable. “Covid is going to be with us. I don’t think we ever will be, for the rest of my life Covid will be there in one form or another. The key is how to make sure people don’t die or die. are not hospitalized. If we can do that, then I think it’s probably the best we can hope for. ”


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