ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced a number of trained healthcare professionals were dispatched to Strong Memorial Hospital Saturday to assist with the rise of COVID-19 in Rochester.

Staff arrived from Northwell Health include 16 separate members that specialize in surgical, critical and emergency care. The team will serve Rochester along with the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo.

“Fighting the winter surge requires a statewide team effort from partners across New York State,” Gov. Hochul said. “I want to thank Northwell Health for answering the call to action and partnering with us to send a team of extraordinarily skilled nurses that will boost hospital capacity and help us bring the numbers down in Western New York.”

Currently, 32 hospitals statewide are affected by the pause on non-essential elective procedures and the status of this pause will be reviewed again on January 15, 2022.

Between a build-up of more COVID cases, long-term care patients who can’t get into a nursing home, and major staffing shortages — Karen Keady, chief nursing executive with URMC says say they’re in desperate need for this kind of help.

“They’re so happy to be here,” Keady said. “Our COVID rates per 100,000 people is 5 to 6 times higher here in the Finger Lakes than it is in Long Island. Eight nurses will be assisting in the emergency department — where demand is higher than ever.”

On December 7, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello reported 803 new local COVID-19 cases — the largest single-day total for Monroe County to date.

Northwell Health is the largest healthcare employer in New York with 22 hospitals and over 77,000 employes across the state.

Rochester is additionally supported by members of the National Guard, who arrived to Monroe County last week to relief nursing home staff shortages in the area.

That declaration also sent 120 different members to hospitals throughout the state.

During the first wave of COVID in 2020, the University of Rochester sent medical help to Northwell Health.

Nurses sent to Strong Hospital will be helping current staff for a period of two weeks.

Staff at URMC hope the governor’s mask mandate — effective tomorrow — will help get ahold on COVID cases throughout the system.