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State of Michigan secures additional federal team to assist Mercy Health Muskegon with staffing Teams at Beaumont Hospital - Dearborn, Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids and Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw extended for an additional 30 days

CONTACT: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112

LANSING, Mich. - Today, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced that the federal government has granted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's request for additional staffing assistance at a fourth Michigan hospital, Mercy Health Muskegon. Under the agreement, the federal government will send a 17-person medical team to support Mercy Health's doctors and nurses as they treat COVID-19 and other patients.

"As the Omicron variant quickly becomes the dominant strain of COVID-19 across the United States, I am grateful to our federal partners for their continued support that is providing much-needed relief to Michigan's hospitals and health care personnel," said Governor Whitmer. "Michigan's health care heroes have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic for over 18 months, and I am again asking Michiganders to take steps to help reduce the strain on our hospital systems. First, get vaccinated and if you are eligible, get your booster, to help keep you out of the hospital. If you plan on traveling for the holidays or attending an indoor gathering, please get tested beforehand and stay home if you're sick. Take these actions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe." 

"We continue to be grateful that our federal partners are supporting the dedicated health care staff in our state as they work to care for Michiganders during this latest surge of COVID-19," said Elizabeth Hertel, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director. "The pandemic continues to take a tremendous toll on our health care workers and we are pleading with all Michiganders to do their part to support our state's health care workers by getting vaccinated, wearing a mask in public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status, social distancing and staying home and getting tested regularly."

The additional staffing team will include registered nurses, a doctor and other health care workers. The team will begin treating patients Dec. 30 and provide support for the next 30 days. They will assist with providing monoclonal antibody treatment in addition to other support duties. Three additional teams were announced earlier this month and have begun providing support at Beaumont Hospital - Dearborn, Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids and Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw. MDHHS was notified by our federal partners that these three teams will be extended for another 30 days.

"We are very grateful for the additional support from the state and federal levels to provide essential support for our care staff as they are in the midst of this fourth surge in Michigan," said Gary Allore, president of Mercy Health Muskegon. "COVID-19 has put our frontline staff under the most extreme conditions, but their unwavering commitment to the safety and health of all members of our community holds true. We need everyone's collective help to emerge out of this pandemic together."

Michiganders are being asked to carefully consider where they seek health care. A primary care office, virtual visit or urgent care may be the best choice as hospital and emergency departments are experiencing high demand. However, for emergency conditions such as stroke symptoms, chest pain, difficulty breathing, significant injury or uncontrolled bleeding, Michiganders should still seek emergency care.

The federal staffing teams come as Michigan hospitals strain due to a spike in COVID-19 patients, the vast majority of whom are unvaccinated. In October, unvaccinated people had 4.3 times the risk of testing positive for COVID-19 and 13.2 times the risk of dying from COVID-19 than people who were fully vaccinated.

From Jan. 3 - Dec. 15, 2021, people who were unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated represented: 85.1% of COVID-19 cases, 88.1% of hospitalizations and 85.5% of deaths.

As of Dec. 20, 3,944 Michiganders are hospitalized for COVID-19.

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