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Fourth wave of federal help arrived to help Minnesota hospitals

23 doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel arrived to Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

MINNEAPOLIS — Nearly two dozen health care professionals arrived in Minneapolis from the Department of Defense on Saturday to help out at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

The fourth wave of federal help consists of a team of 23 doctors, nurses, and other healthcare personnel. They'll be on-site for 30 days--spending the first two days in training.

This team comes in addition to the more-than-200 nurses and respiratory therapists who arrived earlier this month to support short-staffed hospitals.

Credit: Department of Defense
U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Dustin Ray, a registered nurse assigned to a medical response team currently deployed to Minneapolis, Minnesota, listens to an in briefing at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Jan. 29, 2022.

Other federal medical teams have helped with staffing at HCMC, M health Fairview Southdale Hospital and St. Cloud Hospital.

“The Omicron variant has been incredibly difficult for our hospitals, who are treating a surge of patients while dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks among their employees,” said Governor Walz in a statement. “They asked for help, and we are providing it by bringing in more short-term emergency personnel to relieve our exhausted hospital staff."

Another 199 nurses are providing short-term care at more than 30 hospitals that are dealing with staffing shortages because of COVID outbreaks.

The latest wave of medical assistance will be paid for using a pool of $40 million of American Rescue Plan funds. Staffers will work for up to 60 hours a week for 60 days.

RELATED: Live updates: MDH reports 43 new COVID deaths

And the help can't come soon enough. As of Thursday, 1,502 Minnesotans are hospitalized because of COVID, 213 in the ICU. According to data from the Minnesota Department of Health, 71% of state hospitals have no adult ICU beds available. You can read more about the state's hospital bed availability here.

Just last week, more than 100 nurses arrived in Minnesota to assist hospitals across the state, from Bemidji to Buffalo to Mankato.

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