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Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said yesterday during his weekly address that members of the Indiana National Guard are set to deploy to long-term care facilities across the state beginning November 2.

The deployments are part of a statewide response to what health officials are calling a “troubling” increase in coronavirus case numbers and positivity rates.

Governor Holcomb said Wednesday afternoon the state is seeing the coronavirus spread in virtually every community at every level.

He said 69% of hospitalizations are of people that are 60 years and older, and more specifically, 47% of hospitalizations consist of individuals that are age 70 and over.

This comes after the state reached its highest total for hospitalizations on Tuesday. Over 1,6700 people were hospitalized for COVID-19.

Indiana National Guard Brigadier General Dale Lyles explained guardsmen are being deployed to prevent further infection in Hoosier communities.

General Lyles said guardsmen will arrive at 133 long-term care facilities beginning November 2, and will broaden support over the following three weeks.

Dr. Kristina Box who has returned from quarantining, said in addition to the increase in hospitalizations, the state is seeing a steady number of Hoosiers who are dying from COVID-19.

Dr. Box explains that 56% of COVID-19 deaths are those who are treated in long-term care facilities.

In an effort to limit and lower the number of Hoosiers who are dying in long-term care facilities, the governor is deploying the Indiana National Guard to help assist those working in long-term care facilities.

General Lyles from the Indiana National Guard broke down the deployment timeline:

  • On Nov. 2, 399 Indiana National Guardsmen will be working in 133 long-term care facilities around the state.
  • On Nov. 9, 750 Guardsmen will be working in 250 long-term care facilities around the state.
  • By mid-November, 1,350 Guardsmen will be working in 534 long-term care facilities.

Training for the guardsmen is provided by professional staff beginning this week to teach infectious control measures and prepare the guardsmen for the weeks ahead.

Guardsmen will be tested during training as well as weekly when deployed.

In addition to the Indiana National Guard being deployed, over two million N95 masks and other PPE will the sent to long-term care facilities.

As of Tuesday, Dr. Box said that about 50% of the PPE and masks have been sent to the facilities.

The state is reaching out to the healthcare reserve workforce to supplement long-term care resources.

Currently, the state plans to hire about 50 clinical staff. Any licensed professional who might be interested in volunteering is asked to visit the Indiana State Department of Health website.