National Guard members arrive at Harborview testing site

Ten National Guard members are training to begin staffing Harborview Medical Center's existing COVID-19 testing site this weekend.

"Our strategy is to use the National Guard personnel to assume the daily operational workflow that we have here at our testing site," said Mark Taylor, Harborview's associate administrator.

On Jan. 13, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced the deployment of 100 National Guard members to assist eight hospitals across the state with staffing in the face of the ongoing surge of the omicron variant. Harborview is one of these hospitals. The Guard members will perform tests, administrative tasks and traffic control over the next four weeks.

Taylor said the Harborview testing site serves UW Medicine staff and their families, along with the area's homeless population. The Guard members' presence will allow healthcare specialists currently staffing the site to return to their hospital duties.

"In order to run this service, we've had to deploy staff," said Taylor. "These are nurses, medical assistants, [and] administrative staff that would normally be doing functions within the hospital, and we've had to deploy them for sort of an unusual work assignment to run this site. This will allow us, at least for a month's time, to have those folks return to the hospital."

UW Medicine