LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The Federal government is sending a 25-person medical team to Sparrow Hospital to help their doctors and nurses in the fight against COVID-19.

Congresswomen Elissa Slotkin partnered with the governor’s office and White House to fight for extra aide to Michigan. Slotkin spoke to nurses a few weeks ago from Sparrow Health System who continue to battle COVID-19 cases.

“Hearing directly from the nurses and health professionals who described their lives and it reminded me of a combat zone,” Slotkin said, “it reminded me of serving in Iraq and just the exhaustion…they are just completely drained.”

Sparrow will be the sixth Michigan hospital to get staffing assistance from the federal government.

As we continue facing down the Omicron variant, I am grateful to our federal partners for their continued support. They are providing critical relief to Michigan’s hospitals,” said Governor Whitmer. “Our health care professionals have been on the frontlines of the pandemic for nearly two years, and I urge Michiganders to do their part to keep themselves safe and help our hospitals.

“Get vaccinated and if you are eligible, get your booster, to keep yourself out of the hospital. Please stay home if you’re sick and make sure you sign up to get free tests from USPS and/or your insurance providers. Get free, high-quality N95, KN95 or KF94 masks from your local pharmacy. Take action to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. We will get through this together.”  

The team will begin working with patients on Feb. 7 and will stick around for 30 days.

“These federal medical teams are providing much needed relief and a morale boost for our dedicated health care workers who have given so much over the past two years of the pandemic,” said Elizabeth Hertel, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director.

“We are extremely grateful for the continued support from our federal partners during this latest surge of COVID-19. We are renewing the call for Michiganders to do their part to support our state’s health care workers by getting vaccinated and boosted if eligible, wearing a mask in public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status, social distancing and staying home and getting tested regularly.”

Five additional Department of Defense (DoD) teams have helped out at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn, Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw, Mercy Health Muskegon and Henry Ford Hospital in Wyandotte.

In addition, a civilian Disaster Medical Assistance Team was dispatched to Henry Ford Hospital in Wyandotte earlier this month before being backfilled by a DoD team.

“We are grateful for this assistance for our incredible Sparrow caregivers, who have been tirelessly protecting the community since this pandemic began,” said James F. Dover, Sparrow Health System president and CEO. “We want to thank Governor Whitmer and the state for its help and especially Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, who has been steadfast in advocating for boots-on-the-ground support for Sparrow in combating the huge surge of COVID cases among both patients and our caregivers.”

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin released the following statement in response to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ announcement:

“Since December, I’ve heard directly from our doctors and nurses at Sparrow about how dire the COVID situation is and the desperate need for more staff. Our team has been working hard behind the scenes with the Governor’s Office, the White House, and the Department of Defense to get additional boots on the ground to help manage the immense strain on our health workers. While we were encouraged to see 6 Michigan National Guardsmen arrive at the hospital a few weeks back, I’m thrilled that federal, active duty help is on the way.

“The doctors, nurses, and hospital staff across the 8th District who have been on the frontlines of this battle are exhausted and trying to keep our community institutions afloat. With the help of this federal team, I hope we can turn a corner for them and their families. The other way to help both our hospitals and schools is for the Michigan State Senate to finally pass a spending plan for the $4B in COVID relief they’re currently sitting on. If you want to keep our communities open, get them the relief they need.”

As of Jan. 21, 4,286 Michiganders are hospitalized for COVID-19.