A team of military doctors and other healthcare providers has been treating civilian coronavirus patients in San Antonio since last week and another team will be sent to Houston, Army officials said Monday.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and state officials asked for the help from the Department of Defense following a recent dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases in Texas. Almost 800 military medical and support professionals will be sent to both Texas and California, officials said.
“We are committed to assisting those in need as part of the ongoing whole-of-America response to COVID-19,” said Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson, U.S. Army North Commander. “At the same time, we remain flexible and capable of providing other defense support to civil authorities as necessary.”
Army officials said about 580 of the military healthcare providers would go to Texas.
“Texas is grateful to the U.S. Department of Defense for providing these additional resources to Houston and San Antonio as we work to slow the spread of COVID-19 and care for our fellow Texas,” Gov. Greg Abbott said. “We will continue to work with our local and federal partners to help ensure that all medical needs are met in Houston, San Antonio and throughout the state.”
The Army medical staff now working in five San Antonio hospitals are normally assigned to the 627th Hospital Center in Fort Carson, Colo. Army Capt. Sarah Kopaciewicz, a critical care nurse, said she had recently had a similar assignment in Washington State.
“It’s an honor to be in San Antonio, providing care to patients alongside local hospital staff,” said Capt. Kopaciewicz, who is helping out at Christus Westover Hills Medical Center.