ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A medical team from the United States Navy arrived in St. Louis Wednesday to start helping exhausted north county hospital workers.

The team landed at Christian Hospital in north St. Louis County, which is part of BJC HealthCare

“Much needed help, much appreciated, and we’re very grateful,” Rick Stevens, president of BJC HealthCare, said.

Nearly four dozen doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists from the Navy will be helping fill in for several Christian Hospital employees who are out sick.

“At the time we put in our application, we had a hundred staff members out of 1,800, and so anytime you have someone that’s out of staffing, it puts more burden on the next person to care for the patients that have been coming in,” Stevens said.

North St. Louis County has the highest number of COVID cases in the area, Stevens said. After visiting Christian Hospital, Congresswoman Cori Bush lobbied for federal help.

“I was looking at the desperation in their faces. I went to the emergency department and I spoke with the people there, and just the relief that they believed that we could bring,” Bush said. “We wanted to make sure we could do whatever we could to get help in the door, so this just a start hopefully we’re able to get more help across the region.”

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force has requested federal help at 11 local hospitals.

Christian Hospital was chosen because of staffing shortages, a high patient load, and the fact that it’s the only hospital in that immediate north county area.