Idaho National Guard activated for fourth time to help with COVID-19 response

idaho national guard primary health.jpg
Posted at 11:37 AM, Jan 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-31 13:39:45-05

The Idaho National Guard is reactivated for the fourth time during the pandemic to assist with the COVID-19 response.

Gov. Brad Little activated 75 guardsmen to assist at Primary Health Medical Group and the Idaho Department of Correction as both deal with staffing shortages from employees absent due to COVID-19. Little announced an additional 503 personnel will assist Idaho hospitals.

Related: Idaho National Guard to help Primary Health clinics with testing, screening

"I am proud of our men and women of the Idaho National Guard who have stepped up time and again to help our state and communities get through an unprecedented, challenging time,"Little said in a statement. "The strain on healthcare, schools, business, and government from the spread of COVID-19 is a reminder that we are not out of the pandemic, and we need to be vigilant about keeping ourselves and our loved ones healthy."

Little authorized the initial activation of 50 personnel in March of 2020. He later activated the Idaho National Guard in November 2020 as Idaho moved into a modified Stage 2 of its pandemic response. The guardsmen were once again reactivated in August 2021 in what Little called "last-ditch effort" to avoid activating Crisis Standards of Care.

The fourth activation comes as hospitals continue to deal with the omicron-driven surge of cases in Idaho. Crisis Standards of Care were reactivated in southern Idaho Jan. 24 due to staffing and blood shortages.