Georgia Governor Kemp Deploying National Guard Members to Hospitals Amid COVID Spike

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced on Tuesday that he will deploy 105 National Guard members to hospitals across the state amid a spike in coronavirus cases.

The National Guard members will be "trained medical personnel," according to a statement from Kemp's office, and they will assist fellow health care professionals at several hospitals across the state.

"These guardsmen will assist our frontline healthcare workers as they provide quality medical care during the current increase in cases and hospitalizations, and I greatly appreciate General [Thomas] Carden and his team for their willingness to answer the call again in our fight against COVID-19," Kemp said in a statement.

He continued, "This Georgia National Guard mission is in addition to the 2,800 state-supported staff and 450 new beds brought online I announced last week, at a total state investment of $625 million through December of this year. I continue to urge all Georgians to talk to a medical professional about getting vaccinated."

The hospitals that will receive assistance from the National Guard are the Southeast Georgia Health System, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Wellstar Kennestone, Piedmont Henry, Phoebe Putney, Memorial Health University Medical Center, Navicent Health, Grady Hospital, Piedmont Fayette and the Houston Medical Center.

Earlier this month, Kemp said on Twitter that the Georgia Department of Community Health increased hospital staffing "from 1,300 personnel to 2,800 thru the first of December."

On Tuesday, Kemp said the state's National Guard will "be joining the 2,800 state-supported medical staff to help hospitals across our state deliver care to Georgians in need."

Georgia has seen a spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations over the past several weeks. As of August 20, Georgia was averaging over 7,000 new daily cases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By comparison, in early to mid-July the state was averaging around 1,000 new daily cases of the virus.

Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows that around 28 percent of hospital beds in Georgia are being used by COVID-19 patients.

Speaking with WAGA-TV in Atlanta, Robert Jansen, chief medical officer at Atlanta's Grady Health System, said, "The unfortunate thing is we don't have the luxury of saying, 'We're full, and we're closed.'"

"We're not a hotel, so people will continue to come and our staff will continue to cope and we'll continue to find places to take care of these patients, but it is going to be difficult and it's not going to be easy and it won't make people happy," Jansen told WAGA.

In addition to Georgia, a few other states have also deployed members of the National Guard to assist with care for COVID-19 patients. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear recently announced that several National Guard members will be deployed at several hospitals across the state.

Newsweek was directed to Kemp's press release after reaching out to his office for comment.

Brian Kemp
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced on Tuesday that he was deploying 105 National Guard members to hospitals around the state to assist with care for COVID-19 patients. Above, Kemp speaks at an April 10 news conference about the state's new Election Integrity Act in Marietta, Georgia. Megan Varner/Getty