FEMA will announce expanded flexibility for Nationwide Guard to assist help US hospitals battle Covid-19

A Nationwide Guard airman is educated in hospital procedures at UMass Memorial Medical Heart in Worcester, Massachusetts final month. The Massachusetts Nationwide Guard activated troopers and airmen to assist handle the medical employee scarcity.  (Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Photographs)

Federal Emergency Administration Company administrator Deanne Criswell is ready to announce at Friday’s White Home information briefing new steps from the Biden administration to assist alleviate staffing shortages at hospitals throughout the nation amid the unfold of the Omicron variant.

On Thursday, an administration official advised CNN, Criswell “directed an growth of FEMA coverage to help Governors in utilizing their Nationwide Guard to satisfy pressing staffing wants at healthcare amenities.” 

This course from FEMA signifies that governors have extra flexibility to make use of Nationwide Guard members for help companies at hospitals.

“Now, FEMA has granted governors flexibility to carry out very important help missions at major medical amenities when, within the judgment of public well being officers, doing so is critical to maintain the supply of Covid-19 medical care at these amenities and failure to take action would represent an instantaneous menace to the general public well being and security,” the official stated.

These additional companies Nationwide Guard members can now present embody “actions like linen and laundry companies, meals preparation and supply, biomedical waste removing, perimeter fencing, contracted safety guards, skilled cleansing, and different associated companies,” the official stated.

Extra background: That expanded assist comes as instances proceed to surge and hospitalizations rise. Some states’ well being care methods are beset with nearly-full intensive care items. Nineteen states have lower than 15% remaining capability of their intensive care items. 4 of them have lower than 10%: Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana and New Hampshire, in accordance with knowledge Wednesday from the US Division of Well being and Human Providers. The rising instances have led to decreased staffing at hospitals, from medical doctors to help employees.

President Biden introduced Thursday that the US has deployed 120 navy medical personnel to 6 extra hard-hit states: Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, and New Mexico.

Since Thanksgiving, he stated, over 800 navy and different federal personnel have been deployed throughout 24 states, tribes, and territories, together with over 350 navy medical doctors, nurses, and medics. Greater than 14,000 Nationwide Guard members are additionally activated in 49 states. All of these deployments, he famous are totally paid for by the Covid reduction package deal handed by Congress early final yr. He stated he has additionally directed FEMA to make sure there may be sufficient hospital mattress capability in each state.

Friday’s announcement is supposed to alleviate extra personnel shortages. The usage of the Nationwide Guard will likely be paid for by FEMA, as approved by Biden, via April 1.

Criswell joins White Home press secretary Jen Psaki on the briefing room podium at 11:45 a.m. ET.


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