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Northcom Issues Smartphones to Health Care Providers Helping in New York

April 16, 2020 | BY NAVY CHIEF PETTY OFFICER BARRY RILEY

Upon their arrival in New York City to support the U.S. Northern Command response to the COVID-19 pandemic, military medical professionals augmenting civilian hospitals are issued phones as part of their in-processing.

The phones provide personal health updates, location tracking, and messaging and alerts for the more than 300 medical providers augmenting 11 hospitals around the city.

One soldier speaks on a telephone and another uses a hand-held tablet. Both are wearing face masks and other protective gear and are seated at laptop computers.
Data Entry
Army Spc. Martin Pelayo, assigned to the 9th Field Hospital and deployed from Fort Hood, Texas, enters data for an incoming COVID-19 patient arriving at Javits New York Medical Station in support of the Defense Department’s COVID-19 response, April 9, 2020. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Deonte Rowell
VIRIN: 200409-A-TG877-1029

Army Maj. James Watson, a communications officer assigned to 531st Hospital Center, said the devices are meant to improve COVID-19 pandemic domain awareness with real-time data for decision-making using advanced computing mobile format and collaboration capabilities.

These capabilities enable opportunities in health and medical supply management and tracking through the personnel statistics and medical statistics applications.

A sailor wearing a mask and other protective gear works with a hand-held tablet while seated at a table.
Digital Medical Chart
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Zachary Khalik, a hospital corpsman deployed from Expeditionary Medical Facility Bethesda, Md., enters an incoming COVID-19 patient’s information into a medical chart at the Javits New York Medical Station, April 9, 2020. In support of the Defense Department’s COVID-19 response, U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Deonte Rowell
VIRIN: 200409-A-TG877-1025
An Army general wearing eye protection and a blue face puts on a pair of blue latex gloves.
Medical Gear
Army Maj. Gen. William A. “Bill” Hall, commander of Task Force Northeast, deployed from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., dons medical personal protective equipment before touring the Javits New York Medical Station patient care area, April 9, 2020. In support of the Defense Department’s COVID-19 response, U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Deonte Rowell
VIRIN: 200409-A-TG877-1001

''These are great tools to flatten the battlefield and offer a clear sight picture for all the senior leaders to know what's happening on ground in the moment,'' said Watson, who is working at the Javits New York Medical Station, the name given to the alternate care facility established at New York’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Providers can also use the Microsoft Teams software to collaborate, share lessons learned and help to build a bond of communication.

''It shows a great level of concern, from the most senior commander on down to the individual that is going into the hospitals to support the COVID-19 response,'' Watson said.

Six soldiers wearing blue face masks walk through the patient care area of an alternate care facility set up as part of the COVID-19 pandemic response.
Masked Crew
Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey L. Milhorn, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Division, and Army Maj. Gen. William A. “Bill” Hall, commander of Task Force Northeast, deployed from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., tour the Javits New York Medical Station’s COVID-19 patient care area, April 9, 2020. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Deonte Rowell
VIRIN: 200409-A-TG877-1036

Northcom is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist the New York hospital system and others across the nation's hardest-hit areas.

Javits New York Medical Station has been operational and caring for non-COVID-19 patients since March 30. It began providing medical care for patients with COVID-19 on April 3. Also initially tasked with providing care to non-COVID patients, the Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort, deployed to New York City, began taking COVID-positive patients April 6.

(Navy Chief Petty Officer Barry Riley is assigned to Joint Task Force Civil Support.)