News   Defense News

DOD Mounts Multifaceted Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

March 31, 2020 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

The Defense Department is rapidly ramping up its efforts to fight COVID-19 and assist federal, state and local governments in their efforts.

Some of DOD's activities include:

New York

The Army Corps of Engineers alternate care facility, constructed at the Javits Convention Center in New York City, is now fully operational. The temporary hospital can hold up to 2,910 beds, relieving some of the demand placed on local hospitals.

Also, the hospital ship USNS Comfort docked in New York City yesterday and began taking patients today.

A hospital ship sails under a bridge, accompanied by smaller boats.
Comfort Arrival
The hospital ship USNS Comfort arrives in New York City, March 30, 2020, to support the nation's COVID-19 response efforts. The Comfort will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals, allowing those hospitals to focus on COVID-19 cases.
Photo By: Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory J. Mendenhall
VIRIN: 200330-G-MR731-1002Y

The ship's medical team will be providing a broad spectrum of medical care, allowing local hospitals to concentrate their efforts on COVID-19 patients.

California

The hospital ship USNS Mercy is docked in Los Angeles; the medical team began seeing its first patients March 29.

The ship's personnel care for trauma and acute care patients and can also perform surgeries, freeing local hospitals to focus on COVID-19 patients.

Medical personnel in surgical scrubs inventory medical supplies.
Medical Supplies
Corpsmen inventory medical supplies aboard the Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy in San Diego, March 30, 2020.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan M. Breeden
VIRIN: 200330-N-PH222-1023C

Also in Los Angeles, National Guardsmen are setting up a medical shelter at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The Guard has set up two other medical shelters elsewhere in the state.

Washington, D.C.

District of Columbia National Guard members mobilized March 24 to support multiple civilian agencies, including  Mayor Muriel Bowser's office, the D.C. Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the Metropolitan Police Department.

The Guard is currently manning street closure checkpoints and will provide support for medical screening, transportation, logistics and other duties, as needed. 

Men in uniform stand in an empty street with the Washington Monument in the background.
D.C. Guard
District of Columbia National Guard members mobilize to support multiple civilian agencies — including the office of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowse, the D.C. Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Metropolitan Police Department — in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Anthony Small, D.C. Air National Guard
VIRIN: 200326-Z-BH411-0031

Connecticut

The Connecticut National Guard is providing logistical support for the state's health care system by assisting in distribution of personal protective equipment, medical supplies and medical equipment.

The Guard is also erecting shelters with electricity that will be used for COVID-19 patients.

Guardsmen organize boxes in a warehouse.
Box Organizers
Connecticut National Guardsmen organize boxes containing personal protective equipment at a warehouse in New Britain, Conn., March 30, 2020.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Tucker
VIRIN: 200330-Z-DY403-037C

South Carolina

South Carolina National Guardsmen are transporting personal protective equipment and other supplies to the 46 counties in the state to support the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Pennsylvania

Members of the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team and the 111th Attack Wing are supporting the Pennsylvania National Guard in a variety of missions including providing a Montgomery County community-based testing site with medical staff. They are also providing logistics support for the creation of the 250 non-acute-patient Federal Emergency Management Agency medical station at the Glen Mills School, in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. 

Airman set up a tent and tables.
Test Center
Pennsylvania Air National Guardsmen set up gear at a mass coronavirus test center in Upper Dublin Township, Pa., March 20, 2020. Approximately 80 members worked with local, state and federal authorities to open the drive-thru testing location.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Wilfredo Acosta
VIRIN: 200320-F-DY323-560C

Texas and Michigan

The Army Corps of Engineers today began the initial planning and assessment for the possible conversion of existing buildings into alternate care sites throughout the two states. These actions, which are under the direction of FEMA, are part of eight mission-critical assignments to address possible medical facility shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The conversion projects are expected to  cost $1.1 billion. 

Across the United States and U.S. Military Abroad

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency is helping to deliver 3 million COVID-19 test kit swabs in support of U.S. medical professionals stateside, and military members in Europe.

A service member sets up a cot in a large room with many other cots.
Hospital Bed
An airman with the California Air National Guard sets up a hospital bed in a medical station inside the Los Angeles Convention Center, March 29, 2020.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Crystal Housman
VIRIN: 200329-Z-FD650-1028C

The Defense Logistics Agency will spend $84.4 million to buy 8,000 ventilators with an initial delivery of 1,400 by early May.