© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

As Coronavirus Cases Rise, Army Troops Head To San Antonio To Support Local Hospitals

(U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Ashton Empty)
Sgt. Daniel Heller, a combat medic assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Department, Fort Carson, checks the temperature of the Soldiers who are part of the Department of Defense Covid-19 response.

The U.S. Army is sending about 50 personnel to San Antonio to help local hospitals manage a surge in coronavirus patients. The city recently surpassed 15,000 coronavirus cases, and local leaders warn that hospitals may reach capacity in the next week.

The troops come from the 627th Hospital Center at Fort Carson in Colorado. They include emergency room and critical care nurses, respiratory specialists and other support staff. 

The hospitals they were sent to are Baptist Health Center, Christus Santa Rosa Medical Center, Christus Westover Hills Medical Center, Methodist Metropolitan and University Hospital.

The troops fall under the auspices of U.S. Army North in San Antonio, the ground forces element of U.S. Northern Command. The Federal Emergency Management Agency requested their assistance in Texas as part of an overarching relief effort.

The deployment mirrors others from earlier in the year.

In April, U.S. Northern Command sent Navy hospital ships to New York and Los Angeles to respond to coronavirus hotspots in those areas. That same month, Army troops converted New York’s Javits Center into a treatment area, and built a full field hospital at a Seattle football stadium.

Texas has seen a sharp spike in coronavirus cases in recent weeks after shelter-in-place restrictions were lifted. The state started easing them in April as coronavirus cases dropped. But that trend reversed in June.

Texas now has more than 210,000 cases and more than 2,600 deaths from the virus. 

Carson Frame can be reached at Carson@TPR.org and on Twitter at @carson_frame.

TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.

Carson Frame was Texas Public Radio's military and veterans' issues reporter from July 2017 until March 2024.