More than 120 medical personnel from Air Force Reserve Command units were mobilized this weekend in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to assist patients in New York City, according to the service.
The reservists — more than 40 doctors, more than 70 nurses and about a dozen respiratory technicians from all over the U.S. — headed out to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in N.J. on Sunday and will be assigned to New York City’s Javitz Center.
On Friday, the Pentagon and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the Javits Center was being converted into a 2,500-bed emergency medical facility to treat COVID-19 patients.
In order to mobilize the reservists in 48 hours, the Air Force Reserve Command’s Force Generation Center tapped those from the Selected Reserve who are already participating in active duty service.
That "enabled the FGC to do a quick-turn to meet this first of many expected taskings coming to the Reserve component from the DoD,” Brig. Gen. Stacey Scarisbrick, Force Generation Center commander, said in an Air Force news release. “It’s important to get our Reservists out the door quickly to help combat the spread of COVID-19 and take care of Americans.”
Additionally, the process prevented any medical professionals from being sidelined from civilian, local medical facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We did not want to pull a doc or nurse out of their community clinical practice or hospital if already ensconced in coronavirus operations,” said Col. Teresa Bisnett, Air Force Reserve Command’s surgeon general.
There are more than 347,000 cases of COVID-19 within the U.S. — including more than 70,000 cases in New York City, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Among U.S. service members, the Pentagon said Monday 1,435 have tested positive for the virus. The Pentagon also reported positive tests from 398 civilians, 336 dependents and 177 contractors.