INDIANAPOLIS — A 20 person U.S. Navy team will deploy to IU Health Methodist Hospital to support civilian healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients.
The military medical personnel include nurses, respiratory therapists and medical doctors. The team is coming at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), according to a news release from the U.S. Army North (Fifth Army).
The news comes on the same day that federal health officials announced the omicron variant is now the dominant version of the coronavirus in the U.S. and accounted for an estimated 73% of new infections last week.
The Indiana Department of Health reported the state's first case of the omicron variant Sunday.
Military spokesperson Col. Martin O’Donnell tells WRTV the team will arrive beginning Tuesday and could start their first rotation on Christmas Day.
The team is in support of FEMA, which works with states, so an end date for the team is not known at this time.
Other military teams are working in states across the country. The team at Methodist will be Indiana's first.
“Since COVID began, our military medical personnel have been committed to fighting the pandemic and supporting our local, state and federal partners and communities in need,” said Lt. Gen. John R. Evans, Jr., U.S. Army North commander.
IU Health says additional information should be available Tuesday.
Earlier this month, IU Health requested help from the National Guard at several of its hospitals, including Methodist.
Last week, the healthcare system said it was currently caring for an "all-time high" number of COVID-19 patients.
WRTV has also reached out to IDOH for comment and is waiting to hear back.
MORE: 'This is really a capacity concern if not a crisis': Indiana Hospital Association discusses COVID surge | ‘We need to be cautious’ : COVID-19 continues surge in Central Indiana | Contact tracing continues as COVID cases rise and events happen | 'Things do not look good at all': COVID-19 surge is straining Indiana hospitals