President Biden Deploys Medical Team to UNM Hospital

Amid a recent COVID surge, the Biden administration opts to send a medical team to New Mexico.

President Joe Biden announced on January 13 that he would be sending groups of federal medical staff, made up of military medical personnel, to assist parts of the country that had experienced a significant surge going into the new year. Included in the list of locations was the University of New Mexico Hospital, as well as locations such as the Henry Ford Hospital outside of Detroit, and the Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn. The group sent to the University is made up of twenty-five individuals who will assist in the staff shortage and surge of new COVID-19 patients as a result of the Omicron variant. Another group of twenty will go to the Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock.
Governor Lujan Grisham lauded Biden’s decision, saying, “It will absolutely help.” Meanwhile, the University released a statement saying, “University of New Mexico Hospital looks forward to continuing to work with our partners at the state and federal level as we continue to provide care during this pandemic. We continue to ask New Mexicans to help us by getting vaccinated, boosted when eligible, having your eligible children vaccinated, and following COVID safe practices.” Biden’s medical team is encouraged by Grisham as a path towards greater service for medical staff during this spike. The added personnel, however, are not planned to remain more than a month, meaning New Mexico’s long-standing medical personnel shortage will remain.
New Mexico has a seven-day average of 5,571 new cases per day the week of January 22nd. The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) reported a 7-day positivity rate of 29.0%, and 6,198 new cases on Friday, January 21, and records for the state now total 455,947 cases state-wide. Thirty new deaths were reported on Friday, totaling 6,261; however, the NMDOH also reported that over 90% of New Mexico’s population over eighteen has at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Hospitals around the state are reaching their tipping points, with beds running short and staffing shortages hurting New Mexico’s response to the variant. Biden’s envoys of medical personnel are key steps in the state’s response to increased cases and hospitalizations.