When the Omicron surge hit the Navajo Nation this month, the main hospital that serves a far-flung and vulnerable population in the high desert across northern New Mexico and Arizona was immediately overwhelmed.
The 74-bed Gallup Indian Medical Center has so many patients that they are asking people, many of whom drove two hours for care, to go home and come back in a couple of days. “You’re not going to get a bed unless you need a ventilator, or you have a gunshot wound,” said William Porter, deputy director of operations at Team Rubicon, which sends volunteer military veterans to disaster areas. The group is deploying roughly 20 medical personnel to the Navajo Nation, home to approximately 173,000 people spread across 27,000 miles and three states.
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