First group of COVID-19 health care contractors reports for duty in Alaska

Hospital workers at the Alaska Native Medical Center ICU on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021 (Shirley Young/Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium)

State officials say the first group of out-of-state health care workers reported to Alaska Native Medical Center for orientation on Tuesday. They’re part of the $87 million contract Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed for 470 health care workers to help Alaska’s hospitals fight the COVID-19 surge.

Once the healthcare workers arrive in Alaska, they take care of paperwork and are matched to hospitals that need their skill set. Nearly 20 institutions across the state requested aid.

Alaska Public Health Director Heidi Hedberg says the first hundred have been assigned to hospitals.

“The first waves of health care workers are going to be focusing in Anchorage and Mat-Su where the greatest need is, because that’s where predominantly all of the critical care is provided,” she said.

She said once the needs are met at those hospitals, workers will be deployed out to other hospitals with critical care needs. On Tuesday afternoon, she said Providence Alaska Medical Center was getting ready to onboard its first influx of workers.

Hedburg anticipates roughly half of the workers will arrive by Wednesday. She said the remainder will trickle in over the next week or so.

Claire Stremple

Alaska News Reporter, KTOO

I believe every Alaskan has a right to timely information about their health and health systems, and their natural environment and its management. My goal is to report thoughtful stories that inform, inspire and quench the curiosity of listeners across the state.

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