Military Hospitals Come Online in New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle
March 30, 2020 (EIRNS)—The mobilization of military assets in response to the coronavirus pandemic continued, both in the deployment of military medical capabilities to support state and local authorities and also in logistical movements to back up those and other deployments, with new updates reported by the Pentagon today.
In terms of deployments, the Department of Defense daily update reported today that the hospital ship USNS Mercy took on its first three patients in Los Angeles, yesterday, while the USNS Comfort arrived in New York City today. “Both ships will provide a spectrum of medical care that will allow local hospitals to focus on COVID-19 patients,” the update reports.
The update also reports that the Army Corps of Engineers alternate care facility constructed at the Javits Convention Center in New York City is expected to reach full operational capability today. The makeshift hospital will house up to 2,910 beds, relieving some of the demand placed upon local hospitals combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Army Chief of Staff General James McConville, after touring the Javits Center yesterday, told National Public Radio in an interview that the Army Corps has now conducted 181 assessments of structures that could serve as alternate care locations.
McConville also reported that the Army has sent two field hospitals to Seattle, to set up a 150-bed hospital in the CenturyLink Arena. A lot of what the Army is doing, in support of FEMA, is “just making sure that the states have the capacity to offload their critical care units so they can focus on the COVID-19 virus,” he said.
On the logistical side, the Pentagon update reported the following:
• The Defense Threat Reduction Agency helped deliver six C-17 shipments, totaling 3 million COVID-19 test kit swabs, to support U.S. medical professionals stateside, and military members in Europe.
• The Defense Logistics Agency will spend $84.4 million to buy 8,000 ventilators, with delivery of an initial 1,400 by early May. This is in addition to supporting USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy with over $2 million in medical supplies and 975,000 gallons of fuel for their transit to New York City and Los Angeles.