HONOLULU (KHON2) — More than 500 healthcare workers will by arriving in Hawaii in the coming weeks to accommodate the increased need at 19 hospitals statewide as COVID cases continue to surge.

It’s all thanks to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which provided Hawaii $46 million to bring in traveling healthcare workers through staffing services from ProLink Healthcare.

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Last weekend, 46 clinicians were sent to Hilo Medical Center and Kona Hospital. The remaining workers are expected to be deployed over the next three weeks. This is the second time that Hawaii has received surge staff support during the pandemic.

“The needs in the hospitals have dramatically increased primarily because of the highly transmissible delta variant. Our emergency rooms, medical-surge units and intensive care units are being overwhelmed with patients who have not been vaccinated,” said Hilton Raethel, CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawai‘i. “Access to staffing resources is critically important for all of the acute facilities to improve access to care. The speed at which this has come together has been outstanding, and we are grateful for the continued partnerships.”

Majority of the positions are for medical-surgical nurses, critical care nurses, and telemetry nurses.

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All of the out-of-state healthcare staff are required to be either fully vaccinated or be tested regularly for COVID-19. They are expected to work in Hawaii for eight weeks each.