State announces incoming federal staffing resources
amid Omicron surge
Resources will support New Mexico hospitals;
New Mexicans urged to get boosters, take precautions
SANTA FE – Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) on Thursday welcomed the announcement of additional federal resources being sent to New Mexico to relieve overburdened hospital staff in the Albuquerque metro region. The action follows the state’s prior request for additional federal staffing support. As Omicron-fueled case counts continue to rise, the combination of federal medical teams and contracted staff coordinated by the state will provide relief to staff combating a surge in Omicron variant infections.
President Biden on Thursday announced the deployment of federal medical teams to six states, including New Mexico, as part of the administration’s strategy to address the surge in COVID-19 infections.
“I am grateful to President Biden and our federal partners for their continued support in our ongoing battle against COVID-19,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “New Mexico health care workers are counting on each and every one of us to do our part to ease their burden – get vaccinated, get boosted, and mask up.”
“We appreciate the willingness and readiness of our federal partners to step in and provide much-needed help and relief to our delivery systems here in New Mexico,” said David R. Scrase, M.D., Acting Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health. “Our hospitals have been overfilled since August and we are this week experiencing a new but expected surge in hospitalizations as a result of the Omicron variant. The combination of federal assistance and the 500 contracted healthcare personnel brought in by the Department of Health are helping us through this very difficult time. Please, everyone, get your booster, or get a first or second dose if you haven’t yet. It is the primary way that each of us can support those who are there 24×7 to provide for our medical needs in this time of crisis.”
The 25-person Department of Defense Medium Medical Team (MMT) is expected to be in New Mexico within the next week. Once deployed, the team will be on site for 30 days to assist medical staff at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. This deployment of federal resources comes as a result of the state’s 2021 request to the Biden administration for additional staffing support, and represents the third MMT to be deployed to New Mexico. Two Navy MMTs have served the state in the NW region at the San Juan Regional Medical Center over the last 45 days under the Dual Status Command of Brigadier General Jamison Herrera of the New Mexico National Guard.
COVID-19 case counts in New Mexico are on the rise. Please stay safe by avoiding large groups or crowds, wear a well-fitting mask when indoors in public, and get vaccinated and boosted.
The vast majority of COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths occur among the unvaccinated, and all New Mexicans 5 years and older are encouraged to stay up to date on their vaccines and boosters. New Mexicans can sign up for their free vaccine appointment at vaccineNM.org, vaccineNM.org/kids, vaccine.gov, or through their personal medical provider or pharmacist.
Katy Diffendorfer, Health Equity Communications Manager | Katy.Diffendorfer@state.nm.us
The Department of Health works to promote health and wellness, improve health outcomes, and deliver services to all New Mexicans. As New Mexico’s largest state agency, DOH offers public health services in all 33 counties and collaborates with 23 Native American tribes, Pueblos and nations.