The Potluck

Defense Department medical staff deployed to Abbott Northwestern Hospital

By: - January 28, 2022 2:36 pm

John Moore/Getty Images.

Another federal medical team is arriving in Minnesota as the state’s health care system remains stressed by the most recent wave of the pandemic, Gov. Tim Walz announced Friday.

The team of 23 doctors, nurses and hospital staff from the Department of Defense will arrive at Abbott Northwestern Hospital Saturday to care for patients and relieve staff, according to a news release. They will stay for 30 days. 

Federal medical teams previously have worked at Hennepin County Medical Center, M Health Fairview Southdale Hospital and St. Cloud Hospital.

The governor’s office also announced Friday that 201 nurses and respiratory therapists have signed on to provide short-term care at 32 hospitals around the state. Walz is using $40 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to send the temporary workers to short-staffed hospitals, where they will work up to 60 hours per week for 60 days.

The highly contagious omicron variant is still driving high rates of COVID-19 transmission in Minnesota, although health officials say this wave may have reached its peak.

More than 1,500 Minnesotans were hospitalized with COVID-19 Thursday, 213 of them in intensive-care units — the lowest number of ICU patients in at least two months. Hospital beds remain scarce, though, with just six ICU beds and 35 non-ICU beds available in the Twin Cities.

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a former data reporter for the Minnesota Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.