ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4/ KDXU) – National Guard members are training at the Intermountain Healthcare St. George Regional Hospital for the next couple of days.

Samuel Retti grew up in St. George and is one of nearly 60 guard members helping during staffing shortages.

“I have friends and family that have worked at this hospital for a long time so it’s great to be working here, helping out,” says Retti.

This is the first deployment of National Guard personnel in a hospital setting in Utah, according to hospital leaders. These members will help at the hospital and assisted living facilities in Washington County.

“It’s just giving back to the community, you know we’re a state asset, that’s what we’re here to do is help the state out; everyone from all over, I’ve heard tons and tons of comments of worker shortages and all the things going on, so it’s a great honor to help out and fill those gaps,” says Retti.

Health officials say this comes after patient volumes are higher than they’ve ever been as the COVID-19 Omicron variant has affected staffing. The hospital has been over capacity for several months, according to officials.

“Things like our environmental services, like housekeeping, our food services, we have to feed patients and feed our staff, patient transport, moving patients from surgery to rooms and back and forth,” says Mark Evans, the Operations Officer for the hospital.

While hospitalizations related to COVID-19 are going down, finding and retaining staff has been a challenge, but leaders are hopeful this will be a temporary fix to the issue.

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