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Air Force medical workers arrive at Upstate University Hospital, alleviating some stress

LTC Venus Victorino is giving the speech at Upstate University Hospital. She said the Air Force Reserve Military medical personnel feel very welcome and are ready to serve.
Calvin Millner
LTC Venus Victorino at Upstate Medical University said the Air Force Reserve Military medical personnel feel very welcome and are ready to serve.

The staff at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse continues to be stretched thin like other area hospitals. Now, another medical team has arrived to pitch in.

40 members of the US Air Force Reserve Medical Team from five military bases across the US are now in place, allowing the hospital to serve more patients and reopen 23 beds.

According to Upstate Capacity and Through-put Specialist Brian Pratt, also an Advance Practice Registered Nurse, the Air Force Medical Teams are taking on a very large role as the hospital continues to deal with the pandemic.

He added because the teams are fully implemented, the hospital is now serving additional patients with specialty services it couldn’t offer before.

“Over the next month they’ll be providing care and a dedicated nursing unit - fully staffed by one small medical task force - and we’ve got another team expanding care on another floor opening an additional 10 beds,” Pratt said. “So, we’ve been able to add an additional 23 beds and it’s been a wonderful experience.”

LTC Venus Victorino said the Air Force Reserve military medical personnel feel very welcome and are ready to serve.

“We are committed to supporting the community of Central New York as we work to help relieve the pressure on healthcare workers overwhelmed by the strain that has been caused by the Coronavirus pandemic,” Victorino said. “The duration of our support here will be determined as the situation evolves. But, our team of highly qualified military professionals will remain committed to the mission for as long as needed.”

The Air Force medical teams were up and running in a matter of days after getting trained on the hospital’s medical records system. While COVID case numbers have been declining, Upstate's Pratt said COVID definitely continues to place a strain on hospitals both here and regionally.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.