Federal strike team deployed to help Memorial Hospital amid COVID-19 surge

NOW: Federal strike team deployed to help Memorial Hospital amid COVID-19 surge


SOUTH BEND, Ind --- Beacon Health System’s Memorial Hospital is getting federal assistance to help the hospital overwhelmed by COVID-19 like so many other hospitals across the nation.

A federal strike team of 10 health care professionals was sent to Memorial for a 30-day deployment to help take some of the pressure off of burnout healthcare workers and staffers in quarantine because of COVID.

“On the 24th of January Memorial Hospital received a 10-person federal team to our ER to help decompress the COVID load that we’ve been experiencing. The team consists of seven RN’s, one nurse practitioner, one nurse that specializes in anesthesia and a physician's assistant that is the leader of the team,” said Zachary Roberts the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at Beacon,

Roberts said after just one week the national strike team has already made such a big difference.

“The need for this team at Memorial hospital was compared to several hospitals at a national level and they were sent here so again just reinforce COVID is here on our front doorstep right in our community and this team’s contributions to our healthcare system and community been immeasurable,” added Roberts.

As of Friday, Beacon reported 110 COVID-19 patients hospitalized across their health system, 34 of those at Memorial alone, mostly all unvaccinated.

With the Omicron variant putting even more stress on already stretched thin hospitals, Roberts said this help is essential to combat shortages.

“Staffing is tough and it’s hard to really quantify what impact that has on day-to-day operations particularly with COVID spikes and the other general things that a hospital will take care of but yes, it’s impactful across the entire healthcare system,” said Roberts.

Health officials also said with extra help in their hospitals and testing becoming more widely they’re hopeful we can soon overcome the surge and take even more pressure off local hospitals.

“We’ve seen a significant improvement in the number or infections identified in the county and so I’m hoping that that signals that we’ve kind of turned the corner on this latest surge,” said St. Joseph County’s Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox.

“This is a very tough hospital community, this is a very tough hospital staff with highly skilled medical professionals and we will keep on keeping on until this is over,” added Roberts.

Beacon requested help from the state back in December who was able to get the national team deployed.

The team is set to stay at memorial until February 21.

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