The Biden administration is sending 44 medical personnel from the U.S. military to support two hospital systems in the state of Michigan, state officials said Wednesday.
The U.S. Department of Defense will send two medical teams, each comprising 22 doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists, who are expected to arrive next week, according to a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services news release.
The teams will assist health care workers at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn and Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids in dealing with the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the state, as hospitals across Michigan suffer from a lack of enough emergency rooms and staff shortages.
Upon arrival, the teams would get straight to treating patients, lending their support to local healthcare workers for 30 days, the state health department said.
Furthermore, the federal government will be opening the John D. Dingell Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Detroit for transfers, according to the news release.
“The initial agreement is in place for 30 days and may be extended. MDHHS and the regional healthcare coalition will work with facilities in Southeast Michigan and the VA system to identify potential patients and coordinate transfers,” the news release said.
“I’m grateful that the federal government has granted our request to provide much-needed relief to the health care personnel who have remained on the frontlines of this pandemic,” Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.
“Right now, our doctors and nurses are reporting the vast majority of their patients are unvaccinated or have not yet received a booster dose. We can all do our part to help reduce the strain on our hospital systems by getting vaccinated, making an appointment to get a booster dose, and continuing to take precautions to keep ourselves and loved ones safe.”
The state health department said that, according to hospital data reported to them, “over 20% of hospital inpatients statewide are COVID positive.”
“There are regional differences with some facilities reporting that nearly 50% of inpatients are COVID positive. As of Nov. 22, 3,963 Michiganders are hospitalized for COVID-19,” the news release stated.
Over 25,000 dead have died due to confirmed or possible COVID-19 cases in Michigan since the start of the pandemic, The Associated Press reported.
On Wednesday, the state once again had the nation’s highest seven-day rate of infections, the AP reported.
According to the wire service, the state reported 17,000 new cases over two days and 280 additional deaths, and the seven-day daily average, 8,165 as of Tuesday, was near its peak since the pandemic’s beginning.
“We deeply appreciate receiving this much-needed support from Governor Whitmer, MDHHS and the federal government to help our courageous staff battle a fourth COVID surge,” Beaumont Health CEO John Fox said, according to the MDHHS news release.
“The virus has exhausted our teams and resulted in unprecedented staffing challenges at Beaumont Health and health systems across the state. This pandemic is not over by any means.”
“On behalf of our physicians, team members and patients we are grateful for the Department of Defense medical team and appreciate support from state and federal levels as we take every measure to care for our community,” Tina Freese Decker, President & CEO, Spectrum Health said.
“Working together we can address this urgent public health crisis, relieve the strain on our teams and continue to provide high quality care.”
Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, told the AP that the situation in-state was “dire” and they “desperately needed” the federal government’s help through the military.
“Many hospitals throughout the state are operating at capacity, delaying nonemergency medical procedures and placing their emergency departments on diversion,” Peters said, according to the AP. “Receiving these teams of federal caregivers can only help those hospitals.”
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