Nov. 25 (UPI) — Health officials announced Wednesday that the federal government has deployed two teams of additional medical staff to Michigan hospitals as medical facilities in the state face capacity stresses due to a spike in COVID-19 patients.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement that the additional 44 nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists next week will assist staff at Beaumont Hospital and Dearborn and Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids.
The deployment of the two teams of 22 medical personnel by the federal government comes in response to a request by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for additional staff to relieve those treating COVID-19 and other patients at the facilities.
“I’m grateful that the federal government has granted our request to provide much-needed relief to the healthcare personnel who have remained on the frontlines of the pandemic,” the Democratic governor said in a statement.
Whitmer made the request as the state combats a spiking COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated residents.
According to state government data, adult intensive care unit bed occupancy is nearly at 87%. Data curated by Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking the virus, states hospitalizations have been increasing with a seven-day average on Monday of 3,890 from a low of 278 in mid-July.
Cases have also been spiking, with health officials reporting more than 105,000 in the past 30 days, of which 73% were unvaccinated.
Whitmer said doctors and nurses have reported that the vast majority of COVID-19 infections have been diagnosed in the unvaccinated.
“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,” she said.
To lessen the strain, the federal Veterans Affairs hospital has made an agreement with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to open beds at the John D. Dingell Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Detroit for civilian transfers. The agreement is in place for 30 days, after which it can be extended, according to health officials.
“We are grateful to the Department of Defense medical team and appreciate support from state and federal levels as we take every measure to care for our community, said Spectrum Health President and chief executive Tina Freese Decker.