More than two dozen members of the North Carolina National Guard are set to leave Alamance Regional Medical Center on March 4. Since they arrived on Feb. 10, COVID-19 hospitalizations have decreased by 31% in Alamance County. 

Major Kyle Dietrich has been stationed at the hospital and has been working around the clock to aid hospital staff , such as checking vital signs, testing patients for COVID-19, and checking in patients and visitors.  Dietrich said he has never done something as impactful as this.

“Our biggest goal when we came in here is to give them a break and give them an opportunity to focus on their job instead of running to call bell … basically not being able to stop working the entire time,” Dietrich said. “This is one of the most sincere forms of gratitude I’ve experienced wearing this uniform.” 

The National Guard has assisted the hospital with staff shortages, giving hospital staff a chance to recharge. Director of emergency systems management for Cone Health Ben Wooten said they haven’t filled all the empty roles just yet, but are actively working to do so, as hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to decline. 

“There's still vacancies that we're looking to fill. I would be remiss if I said we filled them all,” Wooten  said. “I know that we haven't, but we are able to work now a little bit more focused on normal operations.” 

Dietrich also said that this was the first time these soldiers worked at a hospital since before the pandemic began nearly two years ago.