CLEVELAND — As the recent COVID wave continues to burden Ohio hospitals, it appears that help is on the way for northeast Ohio.

What You Need To Know

  • The drive-thru testing will take place Tuesday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the W.O. Walker Building in University Circle

  • The site will be closed Saturday, Dec. 25

  • Testing is free and you don't need a doctor's recommendation

  • You must register before going to the site and can do that by clicking here, selecting "Ohio" and then search for the Walker Center location

“We’re rapidly approaching some pretty intense situations with our facilities. A lot of hospitals have had to make tough decisions over the last few weeks with canceling elective surgeries, postponing elective surgeries,” said John Palmer with the Ohio Hospital Association.  

Palmer said the National Guard is a welcome site for many northeast Ohio hospitals. 

Of the troops, 150 are medical workers such as nurses and EMTs and 900 are nonmedical. The areas they'll serve include Cleveland, Akron and Canton.

“They will deal with many things, to help the hospitals in this time of great crisis. It will involve transport within the hospital, food and the environmental work that goes on in hospitals, that’s so very important every single day,” said Governor Mike DeWine at a recent press conference.  

Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals announced plans to support a community COVID-19 testing site staffed by the guard and Ohio Department of Health for about a week. It will take place Tuesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the W.O. Walker Building in University Circle. 

It will be closed Saturday.

You don’t need an appointment but you do need to register online. Testing is free, open to everyone and you don’t need a doctor’s order. 

“Clinicians and clinical staff remain the priority. I mean, we need caregivers to deliver the care, hospitals have been operating at 80% capacity or higher for several weeks now. This is, I think, our fifth surge that we’ve had to do or had to experience,” said Palmer.

While this deployment of guard soldiers is coming to Northeast Ohio, Palmer said hospitals in just about every part of the state have asked for potential help from the guard.