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Pennsylvania Hospitals To Receive Help From FEMA Strike Teams As COVID Cases Climb – CBS Philly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — COVID cases continue to climb across the region and hospitals are feeling the strain. Soon, Pennsylvania hospitals will be getting some help from FEMA. When and where are the two big questions.

CBS3 reached out to both Jefferson Health and Tower Health. They both say they’re seeing high patient volumes along with staffing shortages, and urge people to take the proper precautions.

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With omicron running rampant, hospitals in and around the Philadelphia region are forced to make do.

“The hospitals are full. A lot of hospitals do not have any beds,” Dr. Rob Danoff said.

In response to this, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced Tuesday he would be sending strike teams to hospitals following a call for federal support.

“The strike teams that are coming are to help personnel. Some hospitals are short nurses and doctors and just people that generally help,” Dr. Danoff said.

Dr. Danoff is the director of family medicine at Jefferson Health Northeast. He says the variant of COVID-19 is less likely to send people to the hospital, especially if they’re vaccinated, but the rate at which people are getting it still poses a problem.

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“Health care as a whole right now is very stressed or stretched as far as I think we can go,” Danoff said.

And it’s not just within the hospital walls. EMS workers in Montgomery County and Chester County are feeling the brunt too.

“We’re waiting upwards of a half-hour to 45 minutes, in some cases almost two hours to be able to transfer somebody from the care of the ambulance crew to the ER because there’s physically nowhere to put the patient,” said Royersford Fire Department Public Information Officer Lenny Brown.

He says while strike teams would be helpful there’s still one problem.

“The unfortunate thing is we can’t create space, we can’t create more hospital beds,” Brown said.

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CBS3  asked Gov. Wolf’s team about when and where these strike teams would be put in place. We’re told the state Department of Health and PEMA are still finalizing plans with federal officials on where these resources would be placed.

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