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Military & Veterans' Issues

Military Medical Personnel Have Deployed Around Texas To Battle COVID. Here's Where They Are:

U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ryon Kumrow (right) and Jose Naranjo (left), advanced radiology technologists from Naval Hospital Pensacola, review training material during orientation at Valley Baptist Medical Center- Harlingen.
U.S. Army photo by Maj. Bonnie Conard | U.S. Army North Public Affairs
U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ryon Kumrow (right) and Jose Naranjo (left), advanced radiology technologists from Naval Hospital Pensacola, review training material during orientation at Valley Baptist Medical Center- Harlingen.

As of late July, there were more than 9,500 patients with COVID-19 in Texas hospitals — and more than 6,000 had died. Medical teams from the Army and Navy have deployed to help hospitals under stress. 

Teams of nurses, respiratory specialists and support staff are already working alongside civilian hospital employees in several counties, including Bexar.

"The support from our federal partners is crucial in our work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our communities throughout Texas," Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement on July 19.

"I am grateful for this ongoing partnership with the Department of Defense and the U.S. Navy, and the State of Texas will continue to utilize every resource available to protect public health and keep Texans in every community safe."

In total, the Defense Department has assigned about 580 personnel to Texas to help manage the coronavirus crisis. Not all have been deployed or placed yet.

Here’s where they’re helping so far: 

San Antonio

  • Members of an 85-member enhanced Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force from Ft. Carson, Colorado, Fort Sam Houston’s Brooke Army Medical Center and elsewhere began treating patients at five San Antonio hospitals on July 9. Those hospitals include Baptist Health Center, Christus Santa Rosa Medical Center, Christus Westover Hills Medical Center, Methodist Metropolitan and University Hospital.

Houston 

  • An 85-member Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force from U.S. Army Medical Command, San Antonio, and elsewhere began work supporting United Memorial Medical Center on July 16.

Rio Grande Valley and Southwest Texas

  • An 85-member Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force from the 16th Hospital Center, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, and elsewhere began work at McAllen Medical Center on July 17.
  • A 44-person U.S. Navy Acute Care Team began work supporting Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen on July 19.
  • Four seven-person U.S. Navy Rapid Rural Response Teams began supporting Val Verde Regional Medical Center in Del Rio, Fort Duncan Regional Medical Center in Eagle Pass and Starr County Memorial Hospital in Rio Grande City on July 19.
  • An 85-person U.S. Army Reserve Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force from Nashville, Tennessee split into two teams and began work July 30 supporting Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen and Harlingen Medical Center, both in Harlingen.
  • An 85-person U.S. Army Reserve Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force from San Diego, California, began work July 30 supporting DHR Health in Edinburg.

Coastal Bend and East Texas

  • An 85-person U.S. Army Reserve Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force from San Antonio split into two teams and began work July 29 supporting CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Shoreline in Corpus Christi and DeTar Hospital Navarro in Victoria.

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

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