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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine spoke in a press conference Friday morning announcing The Ohio Department of Health is now working with an Ohio healthcare staffing company to help hospitals meet their staffing needs.

He also announced he’s ordered 1,050 National Guard members sent to hospitals for COVID-related staffing issues.

“This will allow for Ohio hospitals to bring in qualified nurses and other medical personnel from out of state to fill needed positions and help ease some of the pressure on hospitals and their staff over the critical holiday period,” he said.

150 National Guard members and a majority of the medical personnel from out of state will be placed in areas that need them most, including Cleveland and Akron-Canton. Others will be sent throughout the state.

DeWine says the National Guard members are expected to arrive in Ohio hospitals on Monday.

He discouraged seeking COVID tests at a hospital emergency room and encouraged getting one elsewhere in order to place less stress on the hospital staff.

He said the concern is now about staffing and no longer about the amount of beds and space like it was earlier in the pandemic.

“Twenty-two months of this pandemic has taken a toll on our healthcare workers and that is certainly, certainly understandable,” he said.

The state is looking into using federal COVID funds to invest in mental health counseling and resources for medical workers who are burnt out from the pandemic, DeWine explained.

Healthcare professionals are expecting a regular flu season, which is now starting to kick in.

DeWine recommends students and staff in schools to wear masks for the next month or so.

On Thursday, Cuyahoga County ranked the highest in COVID-19 cases in the state of Ohio.

Cleveland Clinic’s ICU at the main campus is at capacity this holiday season.

On Tuesday, Cleveland Clinic Pulmonary and Critical Care physician Dr. Joseph Khabbaza said they’re seeing some of the highest volumes of patients across the clinic’s Ohio health systems since the start of the pandemic.

The clinic is reporting approximately 800 COVID patients with about 200 in the ICU.

The Clinic has extended the postponement of non-urgent surgeries requiring a hospital bed through the end of the year.

On Wednesday, a federal appeals court panel lifted a nationwide ban against the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for health care workers, creating the potential for patchwork enforcement across the country. 

DeWine says that he and his wife, Fran, tested again on Friday morning getting negative results.