Oregon National Guard members serve their communities by helping strained hospital staff

Certified nursing assistant Cheri Knott teaches room cleaning protocols to Pvt. Aaron Marton and Spc. Jeremy Roe of 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, Oregon National Guard at Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg.

While COVID-19 case rates are dropping, Oregon’s current hospitalization rates remain high at more than 1,000 per day. In response to the strain the Omicron variant has placed on Oregon’s health care system, Governor Kate Brown asked the Oregon National Guard (ORNG) to assist health care facilities with logistics and administration.

An ORNG member takes a moment to play the piano, captured by a social worker at Oregon Health & Science University.

About 1,300 ORNG members who live and work in Oregon have committed to helping our communities through this emergency. ORNG members wear their uniforms when they are working, so the community may see people in military uniforms helping health care staff at hospitals. In their administrative and support roles, ORNG members will only ask for information related to health needs. They will not ask for citizenship documentation, and they do not report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The ORNG is here to provide much-needed staffing support for health care facilities during this period of increased hospitalizations.

It is important to remember that ORNG members may be friends, family or coworkers who are serving the communities in which they live.

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) recognizes that the presence of people in uniform can result in a range of emotions for some community members. Stress responses are normal and natural for people who have experienced traumatic events, and this may cause many feelings and reactions. OHA encourages people who experience a reaction to seeing people in uniform in health care settings reach out to somebody they trust, such as a family member, friend, or community support organization to talk about how they’re feeling.