Your Local News | Allentown, Bethlehem & Easton
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
State & Regional News

Regional strike teams, support sites will assist Pa. hospitals and nursing homes

FILE PHOTO: The Emergency Department at Mount Nittany Medical Center. Photo | Min Xian / WPSU via WITF

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania has begun working to boost the number of hospital beds and organize “strike teams” of extra workers for hospitals and nursing homes struggling with surging COVID-19-related caseloads and staffing shortages.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s office said Friday that the plans involve adding hospital beds within regions for 60 days to absorb patients.

Medical support staff are to include physicians, respiratory therapists and registered nurses, while others will be sent directly to hospitals in need. Certain nursing homes also will get additional beds, registered nurses and aides to allow area hospitals to more quickly discharge patients.

Wolf’s office gave no timelines as to when hospitals can expect the help.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency are coordinating the undertaking after getting requests for help, Wolf’s office said.

“While these efforts will relieve current strains on the health care system, we hope every Pennsylvanian will continue doing their part so that care is available when their loved ones need it,” Acting Health Secretary Keara Klinepeter said in a news release. “With targeted health care staffing support and communities rallied in support by wearing masks, getting vaccinated with boosters, and staying home when sick, we will come out of this with fewer losses."