Current News



Gov. Parson considering deploying National Guard to help Missouri's hospitals

By Kurt Erickson And Annika Merrilees, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in News & Features

Parson said the state was looking at options, including borrowing staff from other states, or deploying the military.

The Hospital Association's Dillon said the National Guard could provide some relief in non-clinical roles, whether it's directing traffic at a high capacity testing site or helping with the transfer of patients between hospitals and other care facilities.

"I don't think we're at a final solution for what those options are," Dillon said. "The guard has been helpful in the past in roles that are not clinical."

But Dillon didn't think other states would have staff to lend to Missouri.

"This is a national staffing crisis," Dillon said. "So the assets are very limited."


Another option under consideration is recruiting nurses from other countries. That, however, would require work to ensure they have credentials and could make it through the immigration process.


In any case, Dillon said decisions will have to be made within the next few weeks if the state cannot lower capacity through social distancing, mask wearing and other practices.

Parson, who on Thursday extended a state of emergency order to March 31, did not offer a timeline for when decisions will be made.

"Everything is on the table to try to figure out solutions on the staffing challenges," the governor said.

Missouri reported 4,614 new cases of the virus on Friday, and 30 more deaths. The state's hospitalizations, again, hit a record. The Department of Health and Senior Services reported 2,734 patients statewide, and a seven-day average of 2,525 — both numbers higher than ever. The data lags three days, and not every hospital reports every day.

The seven-day average of statewide hospitalizations has hit new records every day for more than six weeks.

(c)2020 St. Louis Post-Dispatch Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC