20 Air Force medical professionals deploying at Cleveland Clinic for COVID-19 support

The Cleveland Clinic's main campus on the city's East Side
Posted at 3:57 PM, Jan 13, 2022

CLEVELAND — A team of 20 U.S. Air Force medical professionals, including physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists, will be deployed to the Cleveland Clinic main campus next week after the Biden administration approved a request from the hospital system and the Ohio Department of Health. The deployment of medical professionals is part of a new plan by the Biden administration to provide support to the states hit hardest by COVID-19.

The team will help Cleveland Clinic open closed hospital beds and accept transfers from other facilities, according to Meredith Foxx, the executive chief nursing officer for Cleveland Clinic.

“We’re so grateful for the team that the federal government is sending to us here at the Cleveland Clinic,” Foxx said. “We have been up against not being able to have patients be transferred to some of our facilities and receive care at the Cleveland Clinic. [We’ve also had to] close some beds and patients not being able to receive care. This is going to really help us provide some of that care to patients that we haven’t been able to serve as of late.”

The Cleveland Clinic asked for additional support as hospitalizations were peaking in their hospitals, and the Ohio Department of Health coordinated with the Ohio Department of Public Safety, the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, and FEMA for assistance. Similar past deployments have lasted for about one to two months, officials said.

“Our daily COVID-19 case counts remain historically high, averaging well over 17,000 new cases every day. Simply put, community spread is rampant,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the director of the Ohio Dept. of Health. “What we see in the President’s action is a clear validation of the fact that Ohio has been on the front end of this surge, along with a number of other states.”

Vanderhoff said at a press briefing on Thursday morning that the deployment of the federal medical personnel isn’t being done to replace or supplant existing Clinic staff but, instead, add to it.

“We are looking forward to being able to take care of more patients and being able to deliver on that world-class care and not having to indirectly turn people away,” Foxx said. “The help that has provided so far within our own organization and the National Guard that we’ve already had here at the organization has been so uplifting and put smiles on so many of our caregiver’s faces.”

Additionally, the Ohio National Guard is deploying more members to COVID-19 testing centers in other parts of the state, including Gallipolis, Toledo, and Mansfield, bringing the total number of members deployed to 2,300. President Biden Thursday also announced the purchase of 500 million at-home COVID-19 tests, a website to order them free of charge, and promised to release a plan next week that would provide high-quality masks to Americans for free.

RELATED: Biden promises to purchase another 500M COVID-19 tests, provide 'high-quality' masks free of charge

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Download the News 5 app for free to easily access local coronavirus coverage, and to receive timely and limited news alerts on major COVID-19 developments. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Vaccinating Ohio - Find the latest news on the COVID-19 vaccines, Ohio's phased vaccination process, a map of vaccination clinics around the state, and links to sign up for a vaccination appointment through Ohio's online portal.

See data visualizations showing the impact of coronavirus in Ohio, including county-by-county maps, charts showing the spread of the disease, and more.

Rebound Northeast Ohio News 5's initiative to help people through the financial impact of the coronavirus by offering one place to go for information on everything available to help and how to access it. We're providing resources on:

Getting Back to Work - Learn about the latest job openings, how to file for benefits and succeed in the job market.

Making Ends Meet - Find help on topics from rent to food to new belt-tightening techniques.

Managing the Stress - Feeling isolated or frustrated? Learn ways to connect with people virtually, get counseling or manage your stress.

Doing What's Right - Keep track of the way people are spending your tax dollars and treating your community.

We're Open! Northeast Ohio is place created by News 5 to open us up to new ways of thinking, new ways of gathering and new ways of supporting each other.

View a map of COVID-19 testing locations here.

Visit Ohio's Coronavirus website for the latest updates from the Ohio Department of Health.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.