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National Guard at Willow Point Rehabilitation & Nursing Center to help with staffing shortage

Willow Point Nursing home faces a severe staff shortage due to not having enough nurses.
Willow Point Nursing home faces a severe staff shortage due to not having enough nurses.(WBNG)
Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 1:04 PM EST
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(WBNG) - 12 National Guard members have arrived at Willow Point Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in Vestal to alleviate the strain of a staffing shortage.

The Broome County Executive’s office said the Guard members will be conducting Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) roles and duties.

The staffing shortage prompted County Executive Jason Garnar to declare a State of Emergency in late November, suspending admissions and closing a unit. This is the third unit closed in a year and Garnar said in that time the facility lost 120 beds.

The National Guard’s arrival is part of an executive order that Governor Hochul signed last week deploying about 100 National Guard members to nursing homes across the state.

Garnar said the National Guard members are expected to stay at Willow Point through mid-January, at which point the state will reevaluate the situation.

It was also announced that the Broome County Health Department will increase the number of rapid testing appointments. Starting Wednesday they will have 150 and that will increase to 250 starting next week.

Those appointments can be made on the health department’s website.

Garnar said this increase in testing is possible due to staffing assistance by the New York State Health Department.

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