Home Civilian based defense Army North, based in San Antonio, sends COVID medical team to Tennessee

Army North, based in San Antonio, sends COVID medical team to Tennessee

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The North U.S. Army said on Wednesday it has deployed 20 military personnel to support civilian healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients in Tennessee hospitals, an extension of a mission already underway in five other states.

Army medical staff, which includes nurses, respiratory therapists and doctors, will support the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.

It follows those sent to hospitals in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Idaho.

Army North, working under U.S. Northern Command in Colorado, is the operational command for the COVID-19 military response on active duty in support of federal and state efforts.

The command deployed 20 people to Dothan, Alabama, and 20 more to Alexandria, Louisiana, to support civilian health workers late last month as COVID cases overwhelmed hospitals in those states.

The delta variant of the coronavirus, which spreads more easily than previous versions, has particularly strained medical resources and facilities in states with the lowest vaccination rates.

“Defending the nation remains my number one priority,” Northern Army Commander Lt. Gen. John R. Evans Jr. said, according to a press release.

“This includes the defeat of COVID-19, which the Defense Secretary describes as the greatest immediate challenge to the security of our country,” he said.

Tennessee’s 14-day average positive test rate for the coronavirus peaked at 19.98% on September 1. Although it declined slightly, a chart held by the Mayo Clinic shows the rate remained stubbornly high at 19.14% on Monday. On July 23, it stood at 10.13%.

The death rate in Tennessee fell from 1.45% on July 23 to 1.23% on Monday.

Alabama’s 14-day testing rate peaked at 25.72% on Aug. 13, but has since fallen to 16.61% on Monday, the Mayo Clinic said.

In Arkansas, the test rate peaked at 11.9% on August 15 and fell to 9.21% on Monday, while the rate in Mississippi rose from a high of 22.38% on August 12 to 15 % Monday.

Idaho’s 14-day positive test rate peaked just a week ago, at 23.91% on September 15. It had fallen to 22.29% on Monday.

Louisiana’s rate peaked at 16.22% on Aug.9, but fell to 7.55% on Monday.

Army North, which operates from the historic quadrangle of Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, restarted the military medical mission to hospitals in mid-August after concluding an effort that had included military personnel vaccinating civilians against the coronavirus.

It sent 20 U.S. Navy medical personnel to Lafayette, Louisiana at the request of FEMA as part of the Pentagon’s COVID-19 response.

The Army North mission assisted hospitals across the United States in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic. At the height of the pandemic, command-led units helped support civilian hospitals across the country, including some in San Antonio.

At one point last November, the command had around 560 military medical personnel working alongside civilian healthcare providers treating patients sick with the virus in six states and the Navajo Nation.

It began providing active-duty military personnel to support federal immunization efforts on February 4, overseeing approximately 150 military medical and support personnel from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Army of the air.

Working in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, they administered around 5 million vaccines before completing the mission on June 21.

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