Troops to staff nursing facilities to free up hospital beds
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin National Guard troops will help fill staffing shortages at skilled nursing facilities over the coming weeks in hopes of opening up more beds and relieving pressure on hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, Gov. Tony Evers announced Thursday.
The governor said troops are being trained as certified nursing assistants. About 50 soldiers were deployed to six nursing homes during the past week. Another 80 soldiers who started training this week will deploy at the end of January. And a group of 80 soldiers will begin training in early February and deploy by the end of that month.
The additional staffing should allow the nursing facilities to open up hundreds more beds that can receive recovering patients. That in turn should free up hospital capacity, according to the Evers administration.
A surge of COVID-19 cases over the last several weeks has left hospitals dealing with staff shortages amid a deluge of patients. The seven-day average of daily cases stood at 9,915 cases as of Thursday, almost double from two weeks ago.