Support our mission
 
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy attends a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 3, 2020. According to reports on Wednesday, March 25, McCarthy has ordered three field hospital units to two states hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy attends a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 3, 2020. According to reports on Wednesday, March 25, McCarthy has ordered three field hospital units to two states hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

Stars and Stripes is making stories on the coronavirus pandemic available free of charge. See other free reports here. Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter here. Please support our journalism with a subscription.

WASHINGTON — Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy on Tuesday ordered three field hospital units to two states hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which has sickened more than 55,000 people in the United States.

The deployment will send soldiers and “full hospital capabilities” from the Fort Campbell, Ky., 531st Hospital Center; the Fort Carson, Colo., 627th Hospital Center; and the Fort Hood, Texas, 9th Hospital Center to Washington state and New York. The units provide deployable medical capabilities, which are typically outfitted to care for combat wounded service members, but top defense officials have said in recent days that they could be used to unburden local hospitals of trauma and other patients to focus their care on coronavirus cases.

"Army health care professionals are adequately equipped with first-rate training, equipment and technology in order to deal with emergent health issues," McCarthy said in a statement. "Protecting the health of the force and the American people are our top priorities.”

All of the deploying field hospitals provide intensive-care-unit beds, intermediate-care beds, operating rooms, emergency departments, X-ray facilities and pharmacies, according to the Army. The units include about 300 soldiers each, service officials said.

Those deploying soldiers are all active-duty, according to the Army. Pentagon officials have been reluctant to activate Reserve and National Guard medical units on a large scale, as they worry that could take medical professionals away from their civilian jobs, where they are likely already responding to the pandemic.

The deploying units could arrive in New York and Washington within about seven days, the Army said.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Monday said he expected to send Army field hospitals first to Seattle and New York City. Additional hospital units could be deployed in the near future, he added.

Health officials in New York reported 25,665 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in that state as of Tuesday afternoon, including 14,909 in New York City. More than 190 people had died of the disease by Tuesday, they said. In Washington state, 2,469 people had tested positive for coronavirus and 123 had died, state health officials said Tuesday evening.

dickstein.corey@stripes.com Twitter: @CDicksteinDC

Migrated
author headshot
Corey Dickstein covers the military in the U.S. southeast. He joined the Stars and Stripes staff in 2015 and covered the Pentagon for more than five years. He previously covered the military for the Savannah Morning News in Georgia. Dickstein holds a journalism degree from Georgia College & State University and has been recognized with several national and regional awards for his reporting and photography. He is based in Atlanta.
twitter Email

stars and stripes videos


around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up