Guard can help with staffing shortages in New Mexico schools | Health

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (AP) – The governor of New Mexico said Thursday that she is considering asking for help from the National Guard to address COVID-19-related staffing shortages in public schools, a decision that could mark a first in the country.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said the extra help will keep students in class.

She said the state was in talks with the Santa Fe School District, which was forced to schedule remote learning next week.

Grisham promised to release more details soon.

The National Guard has been used in other ways during the pandemic, including driving school buses.

President Joe Biden announced Thursday that starting next week, 1,000 military medical personnel will begin deploying across the country to help overwhelmed medical facilities ease staffing shortages due to the highly transmissible variant of the omicron.

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Grisham confirmed that one of the teams will be stationed at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.

She said the extra resources will “absolutely help” given that the hospital is the state’s only top-tier trauma facility and often handles many of the most complicated cases.

“With Level I trauma, you have to stabilize the staffing resources there,” Grisham said, noting that the hospital has already brought in hundreds of traveling nurses to help address the shortage.

New Mexico hospital officials have acknowledged in recent weeks that the majority of patients seen are being treated for illnesses and medical emergencies unrelated to COVID-19, but a staff shortage continues to put pressure. undue burden on the state’s healthcare system, like many other states. .

The omicron variant spreads even more easily than other coronavirus strains and has already become dominant in many countries. It also more easily infects people who have been vaccinated or previously infected with earlier versions of the virus. However, early studies show that omicron is less likely to cause severe disease than the previous delta variant, and vaccination and a booster still provide strong protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death.

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