Updated: November 29, 2021 06:42 PM
Created: November 29, 2021 05:43 PM
A military medical response team made up of 23 U.S. Air Force doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists began seeing patients at St. Cloud's CentraCare hospital over the weekend.
"Our [intensive care unit], 77% of the patients are there because of COVID," said Dr. George Morris, incident commander for COVID-19 response at CentraCare. "We don't have room for people with other critical care needs because of the critical needs of the COVID population."
Minnesota Department of Health data through last Friday showed statewide around 28% of intensive care patients are being treated for COVID-19.
"We are committed to supporting the local communities in times of need," said Maj. Gen. Jeffrey P. Van, commanding general for Joint Task Force Civil Support, which met Monday afternoon with the St. Cloud team. "They are very happy and look forward to the opportunity to serve."
The St. Cloud medical unit is one of 18 military response teams that have deployed to six states dealing with COVID-19 cases.
Hennepin HealthCare in Minneapolis saw a similar team arrive last week to ease emergency room and ICU staffing and expand capacity.
"We're constantly adjusting our capacity," said Dr. Kenneth Holmen, CentraCare's president and CEO. "The joint task force is bringing much-needed and welcomed resources to our community."
The military medical team has been assigned to various units at the hospital from the emergency room, intensive care and other critical care units.
The unit that's in St. Cloud will remain for at least 30 days, but it could be extended depending on the need due to COVID-19 cases in the region.
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