Defense Department deploys COVID-19 task forces across the country

Jack Murphy
April 14, 2020 - 12:34 pm
Screening station

Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Sean Madden, New York Air National Guard

The Department of Defense has spun up special task forces consisting of doctors and health care practitioners to be deployed around the country. Four of these task forces are deployed to New York City, three to New Jersey and one to Connecticut. 

"Each task force has 14 physicians – including an infectious disease specialist and four respiratory specialists. In addition, each has 16 medics, 13 nurses, five physician assistants, two dentists, four pharmacists, two clinical psychologists, a psychiatrist, two occupational therapy specialists, four dieticians and 18 other supporting staff," DoD reported. The individual task forces are able to provide low-level care for patients as well as provide testing stations for COVID-19.

Overall, each task force has 85 people in it and can provide a similar level of care as patients would receive in a 250-bed hospital. So far they are augmenting community hospital staff and will tend patients at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.

Additionally, scientists at the Army Medical Research and Development Command at Fort Detrick, Maryland are working on a vaccine. According to DoD, "six possible vaccines have shown the most promise; four are being tested on animals, and two on human subjects."

Seven task forces are on 24-hour standby, prepared to deploy where and when needed at the direction of the Army and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

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Reach Jack Murphy: or @JackMurphyRGR.