Federal ‘strike teams’ headed to 2 Pa. hospitals to assist with crush of COVID-19 cases

Written by on December 30, 2021

Federal ‘strike teams’ headed to 2 Pa. hospitals to assist with crush of COVID-19 cases

By Chloe Nouvelle
December 30, 2021

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is sending hospital and EMS “strike teams” to York and Scranton to help with capacity strains in hospitals.

The federal agency granted Gov. Tom Wolf’s recent request for additional help for communities hit hard by the latest spike in COVID-19 infections. 

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Pennsylvania’s Emergency Management Agency said the exact number of people being sent still isn’t known, but the teams will be in the commonwealth for about a month. 

In a news release, state officials explained that the federal government was in charge of determining where strike teams would be assigned. 

Extra personnel will arrive around Jan. 3 at Scranton Regional Hospital and WellSpan York to increase capacity by opening about 30 additional acute-care beds between the two locations, according to the state Department of Health. Additionally, EMS strike teams will be deployed in both York and Scranton to support the increased hospital capacity. 

Wolf has also asked Washington for more staff for nursing facilities, 1 million rapid at-home tests, and an increase in the state’s supply of monoclonal antibodies.

Dr. Jeffrey Jahre, an infectious disease specialist with St. Luke’s University Health Network, said he’s hopeful PEMA will come to the aid of the Lehigh Valley and expand testing capacity in the region. 

“That would obviously help people get through all of this,” said Jahre.

Long lines were common at testing sites across the Lehigh Valley as the Department of Health reported a single-day record of 17,520 new COVID-19 infections statewide on Wednesday.

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