By CBS3 Staff

SELLERSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania has deployed its first pandemic “strike team” of out-of-state health care workers to a suburban Philadelphia hospital under severe strain from COVID-19, the state’s top health official announced Monday.

The team, which includes nurses and respiratory therapists, started Saturday night at Grand View Hospital in Sellersville. Workers will staff the overnight shift at the hospital for the next 14 days.

READ MORE: Lower Moreland Will Not Mandate Masks In Schools After Tense Community Meeting

The state’s Department of Health recently contracted with GHR Healthcare to supply health care workers for temporary assignment to hospitals in need of staffing assistance. The program opened last week and has received three such requests so far, said Acting Secretary of Health Keara Klinepeter.

READ MORE: 15-Year-Old In Critical Condition, 2 Other Teens Injured In Triple Shooting Outside Simon Gratz High School: Police

“Workers are tired and they deserve a break, and so that’s what we’re really here to do,” she said at a news conference at Grand View.

The highly transmissible omicron variant of the coronavirus has spread rapidly across the state and the nation since last month, leading to record-shattering numbers of confirmed infections and hospitalizations. Many Pennsylvania hospitals are deluged with patients at the same time they are struggling with staffing shortages.

MORE NEWS: Dave McCormick Sues Over Counting Mail Ballots In Pennsylvania Republican Senate Race

(©Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)