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50 Arkansas National Guardsmen to be assigned to Arkansas hospitals Tuesdays to help healthcare workers with the pandemic

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Little Rock, Arkansas – Arkansas currently faces two major issues having the Omicron variant in place, increasing number of patients in hospitals and healthcare staffing shortage.

While majority of Omicron patients and healthcare workers infected with the virus despite the decent vaccination rate among them have mild symptoms, the high number of infections is slowly taking its toll.

In an effort to help the healthcare workers and let them work their job properly, around 50 Arkansas National Guardsmen will be assigned in hospitals across Arkansas on Tuesday.

“We’re primarily going to be taking care of administrative duties, pre-screenings, taking some COVID tests, administrative work, so that our healthcare professionals are able to provide the services needed for Arkansans that are ill right now,” said Lt. Colonel William Phillips, Arkansas National Guard State Public Affairs Officer.

“We’ve got a limited number of healthcare professionals, and we’ve got a large population of people who’ve been affected recently. So we need to free those healthcare professionals up so they can do their jobs,” Phillips said.

According to him, they were called to help the healthcare workers who are most of the time overwhelmed with patients and other duties which should they now take care of.

“Every nurse that doesn’t have to do an intake form, every doctor who doesn’t personally have to take a COVID swab, means that they can provide other services to Arkansans that are in greater need,” he said.

The initial request was for 30 guardsmen, but that request was later increased to 50. However, if needed, they can even increase this number in a response to the needs.

“My prayer is that we are able to affect change here in Arkansas so we guys are back to doing their regular job in like 15 days, but we’re here as long as we’re needed, always ready, always there,” Phillips aid.

This month alone, officials said 94,000 PCR tests and 47,000 Antigen tests have been administered.

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