Federal support team arrives at Mercy Health Muskegon

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Jody Foster, a registered nurse at Mercy Health Mercy Campus, and U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Judith Lee, right, a medical surgical nurse assigned to a medical assistance team, tour Mercy Health Mercy Campus in Muskegon. Courtesy Spc. Raekwon Jenkins

A team of 15 U.S. Air Force clinicians arrived at Mercy Health Muskegon to support local health care workers who continue to grapple with rising COVID-19 rates in Michigan.

The team arrived Thursday, Dec. 30, to support Mercy Health personnel treating COVID patients at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Mercy Health Muskegon originally expected to receive help from 17 federally staffed doctors and nurses, the Business Journal previously reported.

The team will serve at Mercy Health for a 30-day period and consists of two physicians, five nurses, seven medics and one administrative support person. Health care support staff members are filling clinical roles within the hospital aligned with their training, and medics will offer assistance in the emergency department and the monoclonal antibody (mAB) clinic.

“Mercy Health Muskegon is truly grateful for the clinical support being provided by the skilled team of Air Force men and women deployed on our behalf,” said Justin Grill, chief medical officer, Mercy Health Muskegon. “They are working alongside our full-time clinical team providing care to the members of our community. Each individual comes with a unique set of skills and experiences, and we have worked with the team leadership to most fully utilize each individual deployed to Muskegon.”

The federal help comes as a response to Michigan hospitals grappling with a spike in COVID patients, the majority of whom are unvaccinated, according to Mercy Health. The health system encourages community members to get the COVID vaccine and booster if eligible and remain vigilant about COVID protocols, including wearing a mask, avoiding large crowds when possible, staying home when sick and getting tested if COVID is suspected.

More information is at mercyhealth.com/covid.

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