US medical team to provide COVID-19 aid to St. Louis Hospital

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A team of U.S. Navy medical specialists is due to arrive in the St. Louis area next week to help a hospital strained by a spike in COVID-19 cases, authorities said Friday.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s office and the St. Louis Metropolitan Task Force said a team of 44 medical specialists, including doctors and nurses, will arrive at North County Christian Hospital next week. St. Louis.

“This assistance is a beacon of hope for us as we continue to serve our community during this unprecedented time,” said Rick Stevens, president of Christian Hospital.

The Metropolitan Task Force submitted requests to the State Emergency Management Agency last week for federal assistance for 11 St. Louis-area medical facilities in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases. powered by the omicron variant.

The US Department of Health and Human Services said it could only deploy resources to one of the hospitals, and Christian was chosen because he is in an underserved community, the task force said. in a press release.

“It is hoped that by adding resources in North County, other facilities will also benefit,” said Laura High, spokesperson for BJC HealthCare.

The federal medical team will be stationed in Christian for approximately 30 days.

On Friday, state health department data showed the state had a seven-day average of 3,735 people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, with a seven-day average of 699 patients. in intensive care.

The state announced Friday that it has confirmed more than one million cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. The 1,008,681 cases include 63,174 in the past seven days from Thursday, with a seven-day average of 9,025, according to state data.

A 17-member federal medical team has been working with the Kansas City Research Hospital since Jan. 7 and will continue to assist through Feb. 4, the governor’s office said. And two teams from the federal organization AmeriCorps are assisting at testing sites in St. Charles, St. Louis, Springfield and the Kansas City area.

The federal aid announcement came the same day Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sued 36 school districts in the state that require students to wear masks. He was joined in the lawsuit by a total of 76 parents.

“It’s time to give parents and families back the power to make those decisions for themselves,” Schmitt said on social media.

Schmitt, a Republican running for the U.S. Senate, initially threatened to sue school districts over mask mandates in December, prompting some districts to drop or change their mandates while others insisted Schmitt n did not have the power to overrule decisions made by local elected officials. .

Schmitt cited a November ruling by a Cole County judge that said school districts and local health agencies do not have the authority under state law to impose health orders.

He did not mention the decision in lawsuits filed Friday against districts across the state, including Kansas City, Columbia, Waynesville, Liberty, Affton, Rockwood and others. He argued that the state legislature must authorize school districts to enact public health orders and that lawmakers have failed to do so.

“School districts do not have the authority to impose public health orders for their schoolchildren at their discretion,” according to the language in the lawsuits. “This is doubly true when the public health order, in this case face masks, creates an obstacle to education that far outweighs any speculative benefit.”

The state said Thursday that 62 districts closed for one or two days in January, largely due to understaffing and high student absences due to rising COVID-19 cases.

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