“The Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy will go to Los Angeles to help relieve pressure on hospitals there so they can focus more on COVID-19 patients, Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper said.”
“‘We’re working closely with [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] to set the conditions for the ship’s arrival later this week, so that she can start receiving non-COVID-19 medical patients to free up bed space in some of LA’s most heavily stressed hospitals,’ Esper said during a news conference at the Pentagon.”
“Esper said in the next couple of weeks, the USNS Comfort, currently at Norfolk, Virginia, will head to New York City for the same purpose. The crew and staff there, he said, are preparing for that mission.”
“Five military field hospitals and expeditionary medical units are on ‘prepare to deploy’ orders, Esper said, and are expected to mobilize this week to various parts of the country. Where those units go, he added, will be based on discussions with FEMA…”
“The hospital ships, military field hospitals and expeditionary medical units must all be manned by medical personnel, Esper said, and a majority of them are drawn from Reserve units. If those personnel are called to active duty to man military medical facilities, he noted, they will need to be pulled from their civilian jobs elsewhere…”
“Esper said military medical personnel will also come from active duty units, and he added that DoD is limited in what it can provide if it is going to safeguard the ability to run its own military missions.”
“The secretary said he sees the military filling gaps in cities that need assistance until those cities can deal with COVID-19 on their own.”
“During the early stages of the pandemic as cities ramp up capability, DoD can come in for a few weeks to provide that capacity until the cities can convert gyms, hotels and college dorms into medical facilities, he said…” Read the full article here.
Source: DoD aims to fill medical gaps with military while states, cities ramp up – By C. Todd Lopez, March 24, 2020. Military Health System.