PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The National Guard is stepping in to help out at area hospitals as the omicron wave rolls through Oregon and Washington.

Over a thousand Oregon guard members are now in position at 40 hospitals throughout the state at the most critical time in the pandemic.

The next two weeks are expected to be the peak of virus cases in Oregon and healthcare leaders told KOIN 6 News that hospitalization numbers will peak a couple weeks later –likely, in mid-February.

Some of the guard members were in the initial force that helped out in the hospitals last fall before they were demobilized earlier this month.

They do everything from COVID testing, moving patients, helping at front desks, nurse’s stations, and assist hospital staff at patients’ bedsides. 

The 1,500 citizen soldiers and airmen and women are among the 8,000 members of the Oregon National Guard. 

On Thursday, the head of the Oregon Hospital Association is calling a news conference to talk about the latest concerns for hospital capacity as beds are filling up.  

National guard members are being called in most states right now to help out during the pandemic and are not being deployed to just in hospitals.   

On Wednesday, New Mexico’s governor asked the National Guard to fill in as substitute teachers in classrooms and in daycare facilities, in an effort to keep schools open.

Several states have also called on the National Guard to fill in for school bus drivers during the shortage due to the pandemic.