The Cary Medical Center in Aroostook County welcomes FEMA paramedics in this Jan. 27 photo. Credit: Melissa Lizotte / Aroostook Republican

Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center has been approved by the federal government to receive aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Gov. Janet Mills’ office announced Tuesday.

The Bangor hospital will receive 20 military medical personnel, including physicians, nurses and respiratory technicians, by Feb. 18 to aid existing staff.

The medical personnel will remain at EMMC until mid-March, according to Mills’ office.

A FEMA team will also be dispatched to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston that will remain at the facility until March 2.  

As of Tuesday, there are 319 Mainers hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state. Seventy-five of them are in critical care, and 29 are on ventilators, according to Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention data.

EMMC last week recorded 42 COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Thursday, down from 50 two weeks earlier, according to its parent organization, Northern Light Health. Northern Light and other Maine hospital systems have been dealing with high numbers of staff absences in recent weeks as employees have had to stay home from work because they’ve contracted or been exposed to COVID-19.

The FEMA health care workers will join the more than 300 Maine National Guard members who are working in a non-clinical capacity to provide support and allow stressed health care workers across the state to focus on direct patient care.

On Tuesday, another 1,391 COVID-19 cases along with 12 more deaths were reported across the state since Saturday.

BDN editor Matt Stone contributed to this report.

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.