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From left: Gregory Leingang, 88th Air Base Wing vice director; Col. Christian Lyons, 88th Medical Group commander; and Col. Patrick Miller, 88 ABW and installation commander, talk with 88th Medical Group Airmen from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base who were working in the community vaccination center’s registration area last May at Ford Field in Detroit.
From left: Gregory Leingang, 88th Air Base Wing vice director; Col. Christian Lyons, 88th Medical Group commander; and Col. Patrick Miller, 88 ABW and installation commander, talk with 88th Medical Group Airmen from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base who were working in the community vaccination center’s registration area last May at Ford Field in Detroit. (Wesley Farnsworth/U.S. Air Force)

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(Tribune News Service) — Personnel from the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s 88th Medical Group are being deployed again to help civilian hospitals in their fight against COVID.

Staff from the Wright-Patterson Medical Center are being deployed to Michigan to augment “civilian COVID operations in support of FEMA,” Col. Christian Lyons, 88th Medical Group commander, said in a recent Facebook town hall held by base leaders.

Deployments will continue in upcoming weeks, Lyons said.

Kristen Van Wert, a spokeswoman for 88th Medical Group, said Friday Medical Center personnel have been deployed “constantly” to help in the COVID fight. She did not say how many staff are being deployed or where they were going.

“It’s part of the COVID response, but it’s not specific to what Biden announced (Thursday),” Van Wert said.

It’s the second such deployment of Medical Center personnel in less than a year, and it’s happening at a time when staffing shortages at the base Medical Center, the Air Force’s second largest hospital, have become exacerbated due to illnesses among staff.

At the time of the recent town hall, some 60 members of the center’s staff were COVID-positive, Lyons said.

“I implore all those watching today to realize that routine medical care and elective procedures may be deferred in order to accommodate the high volume of inpatients across the region,” Lyons said then.

Last year, some 120 Airmen from the 88th Medical Group were sent to a COVID-19 mission in Detroit.

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell Thursday said 1,000 active-duty military medical personnel would form six teams to deploy to hospitals in Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Michigan and New Mexico.

“They’re part of a major deployment of our nation’s armed forces to help hospitals across the country manage this surge of the Omicron virus — this surge that’s having an impact on hospitals,” Biden said Thursday.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the 1,000 are only the “first wave” of expected deployments.

Omicron’s surge in cases has led to a high number of hospitalizations, and hospitals are dealing with “more and more patients in the midst of staffing challenges and faced with a highly transmissible virus that does not spare our health care workers,” Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday.

(c)2022 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

Visit the Dayton Daily News at www.daytondailynews.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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