Michigan to receive federal staffing assistance during latest COVID-19 surge

Posted at 10:52 AM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 10:55:42-05

(WXYZ) — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the federal government has granted the state’s request for staffing assistance in this latest COVID-19 surge.

The Michigan Health and Hospital Association teamed up with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to request the U. S. Defense Department to provide emergency assistance to battle COVID-19 in Michigan.

The MHA sent a letter late last week to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer requesting the federal medical staffing help; State of Michigan Health Secretary Elizabeth Hertel then reportedly made the request of the federal government on Tuesday. A spokesman for the MHA says the request was for nurses, respiratory therapists, and physicians.

Laura Appel of the Michigan Health and Hospital Association tells 7 Action News, normally the feds send in teams, which are comprised of 15 to 22 people. The request, she said, from the association was for 150 people.

According to a press release from the MDHHS, the government has agreed to send two medical teams, comprised of 22 people each, to local hospitals to help relieve doctors and nurses.

“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,” said Governor Whitmer in a press release.

The teams will reportedly help staff at Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn and Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids.

"We work with the federal government to do an evaluation based on their capacity, the number of cases that they have and staffing. And then based on that, the federal government makes a determination on where their resources are best utilized," Hertel told 7 Action News.

The teams are expected to arrive next week and provide support for the next 30 days.

As far as whether there are other places hospitals can get extra staffing, Hertel says, "At this point, there isn't much else that we can do to provide support to these hospitals. What they're able to do is work amongst themselves. We can coordinate with other states if necessary."

According to a statement, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) today sent a letter to President Biden to ask for additional COVID-19 resources for Michigan, including therapeutics, rapid testing supplies, and military medical personnel to assist hospitals.

Michigan hospitals are strained under the latest COVID surge, the vast majority of the patients, health leaders say, are unvaccinated.

The MHA says they have not requested the state impose any lockdowns, restrictions, or mandates. But they urge all people to get vaccinated, wear masks when in public, and limit large gatherings.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said new COVID guidance measures will be coming from the state soon.

The Governor and her administration have not issued any mandates or restrictions so far. When asked if any restrictions or mandates would ever be issued by the State of Michigan, Hertel replied: "I don't think we can take anything off the table ever."

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