Medical Disaster System health workers arrive at Maine Medical Center

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PORTLAND, Maine (WABI) – A team of experts from the National Disaster Medical System arrived at Maine Medical Center on Saturday to help the hospital manage the onslaught of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

It occurs at the end of a week of record cases each day, with the seven-day average of cases reported each day at a record high of 982.1 cases.

Sometimes in recent weeks, Maine Medical Center has had no intensive care beds available for COVID-19 or non-COVID-19 patients.

MMC’s emergency department has often been under “diversion” status, only handling the most critical cases.

For the week starting December 6, the hospital had closed 12 operating theaters to free up healthcare staff and resources to take care of other healthcare teams.

The group’s fifteen members include doctors, advanced healthcare workers, nurses and paramedics, as well as administrative staff specializing in security and logistical support.

Maine Medical Center officials said over the next two weeks the team will work on a new non-COVID-19 acute care unit, allowing administrators to provide 11 additional beds for adult patients.

The team was dispatched at the request of Governor Janet Mills, in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the US Department of Health and Human Services.

If further assistance is still needed after their initial two-week assignment, Governor Mills can make another request to U.S. DHHS officials.

Maine Medical Center’s announcement of the arrival of the National Disaster Medical System team included a call for residents to get vaccinated and receive reminders.

“As of last week, 70% of patients hospitalized with COID-19 in the MaineHealth system, of which MMC is a part, were not vaccinated,” the statement said.

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