​​​COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio National Guard’s surge assistance to the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center is winding down, officials announced Thursday.

What You Need To Know

  • As virus numbers decline, the mission is coming to an end

  • Ohio State Wexner thanked the National Guard for its help

  • 200+ service members supported Wexner during the surge

Members of the National Guard first began their mission with Wexner on Dec. 29. As the surge worsened, the guard scaled its presence with the health system, helping open a mass testing site on Jan. 3 and expanding its presence beyond the main Wexner campus to Ohio State East Hospital later in January. 

Wexner is one of the three major adult health systems in central Ohio, all of which began receiving support from the National Guard at the end of December. 

“As COVID-19 case numbers decline, the invaluable assistance that the Ohio National Guard has provided to the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center will begin to cycle down and end on Friday, Feb. 11,” Wexner said in a statement Thursday. “Our organization will be forever thankful to the members of the guard who unselfishly committed their time and energy to provide support to our patients, their families and our staff during the recent omicron surge.”

Wexner’s announcement comes as the National Guard plans to end its mission Friday with Adena Health System hospitals, officials there said Wednesday. 

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Ohio have declined significantly in recent weeks, a sigh of relief for hospitals that faced overwhelming patient numbers in December and January.

On Thursday, 3,469 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in the state, which represents a 48.7% decline from the Jan. 10 peak of 6,749. In the central Ohio region, hospitalizations have declined by 44.4% since the peak. 

More than 200 Ohio National Guard members supported Wexner during this surge, which involved about 2,300 service members statewide.

Wexner officials said they received support in clinical areas, including in their emergency departments. Members of the guard worked as sitters at the bedside on nursing units, and performed a range of non-clinical tasks, like patient transport and environmental services.

The health system expressed its thanks to the Ohio National Guard in a video message Thursday.