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The deployment primarily includes nurses, respiratory therapists and medical doctors, and comes at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, known as FEMA, according to Army North, the military agency that has overseen these missions since they began in 2020.

The deployment primarily includes nurses, respiratory therapists and medical doctors, and comes at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, known as FEMA, according to Army North, the military agency that has overseen these missions since they began in 2020. (Raekwon Jenkins/Army)

An additional 65 military personnel have begun deploying to help health care facilities in Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania that are struggling to meet the demands of increased coronavirus patients, U.S. Army North said Thursday.

The deployment primarily includes nurses, respiratory therapists and medical doctors, and comes at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, known as FEMA, according to Army North, the military agency that has overseen these missions since they began in 2020.

For a period all troops returned to their duty stations, but missions resurfaced in August.

Once the newly deployed troops arrive, there will be about 260 service members working FEMA missions to alleviate the stress caused on some medical facilities as the omicron and delta variants of the coronavirus increase demand for care.

New cases reached an all-time high this week, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 431,000 were reported to the agency on Tuesday.

The 65 service members called up this week are split into four new teams – three 15-person teams working in Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and one 20-person team also headed to Pennsylvania, according to Army North.

“As U.S. Northern Command’s joint force land component command, our assigned joint forces – from the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force – are prepared and focused on this mission and know what it takes to save lives, alleviate suffering, and defeat this pandemic alongside our federal and community partners,” Lt. Gen. John R. Evans, Jr., U.S. Army North commander, said in a statement.

A team arrived in Arizona on Wednesday to support Yuma Regional Medical Center in Yuma. The Michigan team also arrived on site Wednesday to support Mercy Health in Muskegon. Both are made up of Air Force personnel. 

In Pennsylvania, a 15-person team will support the Regional Hospital of Scranton and the 20-person team will support the WellSpan Surgery & Rehabilitation Hospital in York. They, too, are made up of Air Force personnel and will arrive on site in the coming days, Army North said.

Other states receiving military support through FEMA are Michigan, Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico and Wisconsin.

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Rose L. Thayer is based in Austin, Texas, and she has been covering the western region of the continental U.S. for Stars and Stripes since 2018. Before that she was a reporter for Killeen Daily Herald and a freelance journalist for publications including The Alcalde, Texas Highways and the Austin American-Statesman. She is the spouse of an Army veteran and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism. Her awards include a 2021 Society of Professional Journalists Washington Dateline Award and an Honorable Mention from the Military Reporters and Editors Association for her coverage of crime at Fort Hood.
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