SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Utah National Guardsmen and women will be assisting in long-term care facilities starting Thursday.

This is a statewide measure to help with the nursing and staffing shortages. 

Brian Gross, regional vice president at Avalon Health Care Group said he heard about this news last week, saying he is honored to help and train the volunteers from the Utah National Guard.

“These are volunteers and we are just so impressed and pleased that they stepped up and those men and women in that room are truly heroes,” said Gross.

Avalon Health Care Group operates 16 long-term care facilities in the state and will receive help from some of the volunteers. The Utah Department of Health said increases in Omicron infections have caused system-wide staff shortages throughout hospitals and long-term care facilities. 

Guard members will be assigned work at a facility for one to two weeks at a time while rotating to other facilities as needed. 

Utah National Guard Lt. Col. Erick Wiedmeier said this plan came together in about a week. He and his fellow service members say they feel privileged to be able to help. 

“We are all honored to serve,” said Lt. Col. Wiedmeier. “That’s why we put the uniform on; to serve the community especially in the Guard, we are a service-based community organization.”

The Utah National Guardsmen and women will need two days of training.

This initiative will last through February unless state leaders decide to extend it.