MARSHFIELD – Two U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 16-person disaster medical assistance teams have been deployed to Marshfield Clinic Health System to provide assistance with COVID-19 patient staffing, Marshfield Clinic has announced.

The teams arrived Dec. 5 at Marshfield Medical Center in Marshfield and Marshfield Medical Center-Beaver Dam, and began working Dec. 6. The teams are comprised of physicians, registered nurses, paramedics and advance practice clinicians. DMAT personnel deploy for up to 14 days. After 14 days, the state may submit a request for additional support, if needed.

“The staff at our Marshfield and Beaver Dam hospitals have worked tirelessly the past two months as COVID-19 surged in our communities. They need a break,” said Marshfield Clinic Health System CEO Dr. Susan Turney in a news release. “Beaver Dam remains one of the nation’s hotspots for COVID-19 and we needed the additional support. We appreciate the federal government in providing these teams so some of our staff can get a much needed reprieve.”

The number of COVID-19 patients at Marshfield Clinic Health system’s 10 hospitals has decreased the past two weeks, slightly alleviating staffing challenges for the short term, according to Marshfield Clinic. However, the effects of people gathering during Thanksgiving and a greater number of people going out in public without masks could change that trend soon.

“We’re in the eye of the storm right now,” said Pat Board, chief administrative officer, Marshfield Medical Center, Marshfield, in the news release. “We anticipate an increase in hospitalized patients in the coming weeks with Christmas fast approaching.

“We can’t give up now. We need people to wear a mask when out in public, wash hands frequently, practice social distancing, and avoid situations when social distancing can’t be maintained. We can beat this virus, but it takes everyone looking out not only for themselves, but every person in which they have contact.”