ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Fifteen members with the National Guard came to Monroe Community Hospital in Rochester Saturday with the goal to alleviate staffing shortages across the health care system.

Twenty-six National Guard members are expected to arrive in total. Their deployment to Rochester is a result of two factors — a rise in medical staff shortages and an executive order issued by Governor Kathy Hochul.

The declaration will see 120 different members sent to hospitals throughout the state.

An increase in hospitalizations across Upstate New York has depleted healthcare systems to the point staff cannot keep up without the added support.  

26 members will split up into two-person teams to help nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Those coming are fully certified ‘Emergency Medical Technicians’ with experience in treating wounded soldiers.

On November 30, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello announced the area’s second state of emergency since March of 2020.

Bello said he proclaimed the state of emergency to give the county more flexibility to counter the latest surge of COVID-19, but added that there would be no sweeping mandates instituted Tuesday.

“I am responsible for taking the steps tailored to the issues that Monroe County residents are currently facing,” Bello said of the state of emergency.

The assistance of the National Guard was requested by Bello during the announcement of Monroe County’s state of emergency. “We have beds, we don’t have staff,” Bello said.

Alyssa Tallo is the executive health director at Monroe Community Hospital and she said relief from the National Guard members will help the hospital have the flexibility to help more patients.

According to Gov. Hochul, the number of those hospitalized with COVID-19 in New York is expected to rise as the holiday season slowly comes into focus in addition to the omicron spread in the state.

The number of omicron cases in New York raised to a total of eight Saturday, two days after the primary case was indicated to have come from a man who travelled to New York City for an anime convention at Jarvis.