By Dillon Thomas

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in northern Colorado, the Department of Defense is deploying a team of medical workers to Fort Collins in an effort to better address the crisis. A team of roughly 20 nurses, providers and respiratory therapists will arrive at Poudre Valley Hospital next week and are assigned to help manage the spike in hospitalizations for the next month.

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The additional support is being funded by FEMA, and comes after Gov. Jared Polis issued a request for more assistance battling the virus. Currently, most hospitals across northern Colorado are operating their ICUs at, or beyond, capacity.

According to UCHealth they are currently serving more than 370 hospitalized patients battling COVID-19 in their health system, the highest rate of positive COVID-19 cases the hospital chain has seen in 2021. Approximately 100 of those infected patients are being cared for at UCHealth’s locations in northern Colorado, including Poudre Valley Hospital.

“Our providers and staff have been working long, hard days and nights for more than 20 months now. They are weary but continue to show up every day to serve our community with pride,” said Kevin Unger in a written statement to CBS4. “They will appreciate the support.”

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Unger said his staff was grateful for the assistance, adding that they believe the assistance by the DOD will make a significant difference in their hospital.

The addition of the temporary staff will also help the UCHealth system further staff other hospitals in need by freeing up staff.

“We know the individuals on this medical response team will be spending the holidays away from their families, friends and homes to help us care for our community,” Unger said. “We thank them for their service and their sacrifice.”

Dillon Thomas