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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – Members of the U.S. Air Force will begin arriving in Ohio over the next several days to begin deployment to Cleveland Clinic.

Starting next week, 20 Air Force members will be helping staff the Clinic to deal with the omicron surge.

Those 20 people could have a big impact.

The hope is that adding these service members will allow Clinic hospitals to open more beds and accept more transfers from other hospitals.

 “We are grateful for the federal support as we continue to face a challenging COVID-19 surge in our Ohio hospitals. The addition of military medical personnel allows us to care for more patients in our community. We continue to urge everyone to take precautions and receive their COVID-19 vaccine, as the majority of our patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.” Tom Mihaljevic, M.D. Cleveland Clinic CEO and President

“Hospitalizations across Ohio have shattered records this month,” said Ohio Department of Health Director, Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA.

The Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) reports 6,637 people are currently hospitalized with COVID in the state’s hospitals.

“Our hospitals are swamped,” said Dr. Vanderhoff, when he announced the news.

1,221 people are in the ICU.

According to OHA data, admissions are up in every age group.

Dr. Vanderhoff says cases continue to be at a historic high.

The CDC marker for high community spread is 100 people per 100,000.

Dr. Vanderhoff says the statewide average is just short of 2,000 per 100,000.

This is in part due to the rapid spread of omicron, which accounts for more than 74% of Ohio’s cases, according to ODH data.

The Ohio National Guard was deployed to help hospitals with testing just before Christmas in December.

Local health leaders say their presence has been a morale boost for weary staff.

Ohio is one of 6 states that have requested help from the federal government including New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Michigan and New Mexico.

Dr. Vanderhoff says other hospitals in Ohio may also receive federal help. All are required to submit applications for assistance.

Cleveland Clinic announced Wednesday that it was extending the postponement of nonessential surgeries.