National Guard called to assist staffs at Adventist Health, Dignity Health hospitals in Bakersfield amid latest COVID-19 surge

Coronavirus

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — National Guard teams have been called to assist staffs at Adventist Health and Dignity Health hospitals in Bakersfield amid the latest surge of COVID-19 cases and staffing shortages, the hospital operators tell 17 News.

Dignity Health tells 17 News 14 National Guard caregivers are supporting Dignity Health staff and patients at Mercy Southwest and another 10 are providing assistance at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital. In a statement, Dignity says the caregivers are assisting in emergency rooms and other departments as needed.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a staffing shortage that is impacting health care providers across the state, prior to the state’s vaccine requirement,” Dignity Health said in a statement.

Adventist Health confirmed a 14-person team was to arrive to assist staff on Saturday.

In a Los Angeles Times report Friday, president of Adventist Health Kern County Daniel Wolcott said a vaccine requirement for all health care workers was not a factor in needing assistance from the guard.

Wolcott told the Times 90% of full- and part-time staff at Adventist Health have been vaccinated, and the rest were granted exemptions.

On Friday, Kern County Public Health reported 533 new cases of COVID-19 and three deaths of the disease. Two hundred thirty seven people were in local hospitals and another 74 patients were in intensive care units.

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