US Army mobilises medical task forces for communities hit by Covid-19

14 April 2020 (Last Updated April 14th, 2020 12:04)

The US Army has deployed eight Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces to the New York area in an effort to help communities hit by coronavirus (Covid-19).

US Army mobilises medical task forces for communities hit by Covid-19
US Army Reserve Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force Soldiers board buses at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, to deploy to locations across the nation in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Credit: US Army/ Staff Sgt Shawn Morris.

The US Army has deployed eight Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces to the New York area in an effort to help communities hit by coronavirus (Covid-19).

Senior army leaders said that four task forces are going to hospitals in New Jersey and another to Connecticut to further contain the spread of the virus.

US Army Medical Research and Development Command scientists at Fort Detrick in Maryland are currently working with researchers globally on vaccines for Covid-19.

The army called up medical professionals from country-wide reserve units to build the Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces.

US Army Chief of Staff James McConville said that the Reserve volunteers were vetted to ensure they were not already engaged in the battle against the virus in their own communities.

McConville further added: “We did not want to take medical personnel out of civilian communities where they were actually fighting the virus.

“We went ahead and we knew that there was going to be a lot of demand for medical professionals. We put together these 15 Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces and they are motivated and ready to go.”

With 85 personnel, each task force is capable of providing the same service as a 250-bed hospital.

Some of the task forces will support patients receiving treatment at the Javits Convention Center in New York City and others will augment community hospitals.

Each task force comprises 14 physicians, including an infectious disease specialist and four respiratory specialists. Each has 16 medics, 13 nurses, five physician assistants, two dentists, four pharmacists, two clinical psychologists.

They also have a psychiatrist, two occupational therapy specialists, four dieticians and 18 other supporting staff. The task forces will perform low-acuity care and can also test for Covid-19.

On standby are the remaining seven task forces, which can be ready to travel within 24 hours after the US Army North and the Federal Emergency Management Agency identify location.