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National Guard members deployed at Washington state hospitals, including Sacred Heart in Spokane

Spokane Regional Health District
Sacred Heart is one of at least four Washington hospitals with Washington National Guard help during the omicron surge.

The 10 guard members and one liaison are providing non-clinical services in Spokane.

About 100 Washington National Guard members began temporary deployments Friday at several hospitals around the state, including Sacred Heart in Spokane.

They’re performing non-clinical duties, such as transporting patients and helping to manage crowded emergency rooms.

The guard members are not medical people. They won’t be giving direct patient care, but they will play an important supporting role, says Dr. Michael Myint, the physician executive for population health at MultiCare in Tacoma.

“The ultimate goal is to make sure that the E.D. is ready and able to take care of those patients who are coming in with acute conditions and our hospitals are able to take those patients, when appropriate, from the emergency department," he said.

At Sacred Heart, guard members will also help transport and communicate with patients, and help manage the emergency room. Susan Stacey, Providence’s Inland Northwest CEO, says their work will free up doctors and nurses to have more direct contact with patients.

At Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center, they may be assigned to work at an in-hospital Covid testing clinic, says Mark Taylor, who directs the hospital’s Washington Medical Coordination Center.

“We have had to staff that with our staff to support that function and so having the Guard on site will…the primary impact is that we will be able to utilize the staff that we have deployed to that operation. We will be able to return to inpatient care, which will be amazing for us. We’re very much looking forward to that," he said.

Guard members have also been assigned to the Providence medical center in Everett, to Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital and Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.