Feds sending medical team to help Arizona with COVID-19

PHOENIX – The federal government is sending medical personnel to Arizona to help with the ongoing COVID-19 surge.

The White House announced Tuesday that Arizona is one of a handful of states expected to receive additional resources this week.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is deploying ambulances to help in quickly taking patients from full hospitals to facilities with open beds.

Twenty paramedics are heading to Arizona, according to a news release.

The state's largest hospital systems have warned that they are under immense strain caring for patients with COVID-19 or who delayed care for other illnesses. With a shortage of nurses, they may have to ration care.

With the highly transmissible omicron variant now the dominant variant nationwide, there is fear that scenario isn't far off. The University of Arizona in Tucson announced Tuesday it had identified seven cases of omicron in the community. A university genetics lab detected the variant in samples from saline gargle tests. The school is now in the process of contact tracing.

Scientists don’t yet know whether omicron causes more serious disease, but they do know that vaccination should offer strong protections against severe illness and death.

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