“We have plenty of bandwidth to be able to do whatever we need to do,” he added. “What we are doing right now is identifying personnel for the mission.”
At his press conference, Kemp urged Georgians suffering from mild symptoms not to seek testing at emergency rooms to help preserve hospital resources.
He also announced plans to spend $100 million over the next 13 weeks to boost staffing at hospitals across the state. The funding should be sufficient to hire about 1,000 contract medical personnel, he said.
The state Department of Public Health, meanwhile, is again looking to open a mass testing center near Atlanta’s airport.
Georgia set a new single-day record Tuesday for confirmed and probable coronavirus infections as omicron rips through the state. The state Department of Public Health reported 13,670 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, shattering a previous record set in January. Public health experts say infections will continue to build in the wake of holiday gatherings.
Vehicles idled for blocks - miles, in some cases - outside of several COVID-19 testing centers in the Atlanta area Tuesday. Rapid tests were difficult to find in local stores or even online.
The Guard has been deeply involved in the state’s response to the pandemic since early last year. In addition to disinfecting long-term care homes, guardsmen have tested patients for the disease, aided busy hospitals and assisted food banks.
Asked about the possibility of fatigue in his ranks, Carden underscored the seriousness of the crisis.
“Everybody knows this is serious. They are taking this seriously,” he said. “Our people have been extremely professional and flexible. And their employers and their families have been extremely patient and supportive.”