Inslee deploys National Guard to assist hospitals, testing

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is deploying 100 members of the state National Guard to hospitals across the state amid staff shortages due to an omicron-fueled spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Inslee announced Thursday that teams will be deployed to assist four overcrowded emergency departments at hospitals in Everett, Yakima, Wenatchee and Spokane, and that testing teams will be based at hospitals in Olympia, Richland, Seattle and Tacoma. Inslee is also requiring hospitals to pause non-urgent procedures for four weeks to ease the pressure on capacity for emergency patients. He also is calling on retired health care workers to return to the workforce temporarily.