HARVEY, Ill. — A federal medical staffing team is working at Ingalls Memorial Hospital after the government approved the state’s request.

Under the agreement, a 26-person team from the National Disaster Medical System — which includes physicians, pharmacists, nurses, paramedics, and other specialists, have been deployed to the hospital to help out with the strain COVID-19 is putting on the system.

The federal team will be available for 14 days.

“I’m grateful to our federal partners for bringing more skilled support staff to Illinois hospitals hit hard by COVID-19,” said Governor JB Pritzker.  “This latest 26-person team will provide vital support to medical workers at UChicago Medicine Ingalls, allowing them to continue providing lifesaving care for all patients.  My administration will continue to do everything we can to support our health care institutions as they pursue creative and safe solutions to build capacity for patient care throughout this unprecedented crisis.”

The hospital has been experiencing long wait times in the emergency room. Firoz Vohra recently brought his father-in-law to the ER and it took nearly 15 hours for him to be seen by a doctor.

“The nurses at the ER hugged my wife and cried,” Vohra said. “The nurses are going through a lot especially the emergency room and the doctors.”

On New Year’s Eve, there was a wait for over 40 hours.

More than 600 people are being admitted to Illinois hospitals statewide each day for COVID-19, with a daily average of more than 7,100 patients in the hospital with COVID-19.

The hospital issued the following statement.

“The record number of COVID-19 cases and breakthrough infections among fully vaccinated healthcare workers has been especially difficult on health systems across the country, including ours. UChicago Medicine’s frontline staff have faced incredible pressures throughout this pandemic and are rising to the challenge in a way that’s nothing short of heroic.

While we’ve worked internally to support our teams by redeploying staff and hiring additional workers, we’re incredibly grateful to get this much-needed assistance from state and federal teams. This help is a welcome relief to our caregivers and support staff who’ve been working tirelessly for nearly two years to provide care for our patients and the community.”