DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — While fighting the surge of COVID-19, Southeast Health has recently reached the highest numbers of positive COVID patients in their hospital since the start of the pandemic.

Like many hospitals in the state, Southeast Health is being overwhelmed with COVID cases and a shortage of employees.

In response to their struggle, a military medical team from the Department of Defense has come to help.

“We have nurses and doctors who are going to be in emergency departments, they’re going to be in critical care units, I think some of them will be working in the medical-surgical areas,” Medical Surge Nurse with the federal team, Major Lynne Smith said. “But we are trying to help out any way that we can.”

This surge of COVID-19 has affected Southeast Health more than the first surge, and Southeast Health Chief Medical Officer, Dr. George Narby says this surge will last longer this time around.

“This surge looks to be more sustained, it’s going to last a bit longer, I believe,” Narby said. “We are right now seeing more patients in the hospital right now than we did at any point in our last surge.”

Southeast Health is the first hospital in the state of Alabama to receive military personnel from the Department of Defense. And as Dr. Narby says, they are grateful for the help.

“Just gratitude is the overwhelming feeling that we all have,” Dr. Narby said. “I think the fact that they came here illustrates to this community and to Dothan, one just how serious this COVID pandemic is, and also what it means in terms of the seriousness of this and the gravity of the situation.”