Well-Being Prevention & Cures

Massachusetts activates National Guard amid COVID-19 surge

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker speaks during a Juneteenth commemoration in Boston’s Nubian Square, June 18, 2021.  AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Story at a glance

  • Baker announced Tuesday he is activating up to 500 members of the National Guard to assist understaffed hospitals with non-clinical support needs.
  • Nonclinical tasks performed by the National Guard could include nonemergency transport between medical facilities, patient observation, security and in-hospital patient transportation.
  • Personnel will be deployed Dec. 27.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday he is activating up to 500 members of the National Guard to assist understaffed hospitals with nonclinical support needs and transport systems.

Baker said up to 300 members will begin training this week to support 55 acute care centers and 12 ambulance services across the state, and the emergency personnel will be deployed beginning Dec. 27, according to a news release

Non-clinical tasks performed by the National Guard could include non-emergency transport between medical facilities, patient observation, security, and in-hospital patient transportation. 

Baker’s administration is activating the guard amid a statewide hospital staffing shortage and uptick in visits unrelated to COVID-19. These issues have led to the loss of around 500 hospital beds since the beginning of 2021. 


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Meanwhile, the commonwealth joined a growing list of states and localities who have issued mask mandates and advisories, recommending that all Massachusetts residents wear face coverings regardless of vaccination status. 

Data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health shows, as of Dec. 20, there were 1,513 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 and 347 in intensive care units. More than 13,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported the same day. 


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