By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Federal medical teams are at three Minnesota hospitals to help with the COVID-19 surge.

One of those hospitals is the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. Staff members there are getting help from what’s being called the “Joint Task Force Civil Support” medical team.

The 23-member support team with four doctors and a number of nurses arrived at Hennepin Healthcare 10 days ago. Most of them are from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

At HCMC, COVID-19 numbers have doubled in the past three weeks, taking away the regular staff’s ability to care for other patients.

RELATED: ‘A Boost At The Right Time’: Federal Teams Help Minnesota Hospitals Overwhelmed By COVID

“It has had moments of intensity because, in essence, you hit the ground running,” said Lt. Brandon Shealey with the task force.

Dr. James Miner with Hennepin Healthcare said the help was “incredible.” He said that though the members were pulled away from friends and family over the holidays, having their support is an “incredible morale boost.”

The task force arrived in town the same week that Minnesota confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant. A Hennepin County man who had recently traveled to a convention in New York at the end of November tested positive for the variant on Nov. 24. He’s been vaccinated, boosted, and his symptoms are mild.

The task force is scheduled to be in Minnesota for 30 days, but it’s possible that the stay could be extended if cases continue to rise. Over 5,600 new cases were reported in the state on Friday.

John Lauritsen