US Military Declares Public Health Emergency For Southwest Texas

Fort Bliss declares a public health emergency near El Paso Texas
el paso rexas city
Texas (Coronavirus Today)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has deployed U.S. Air Force Medical Specialty Teams to assist the state's efforts to combat a recent COVID-19 outbreak in El Paso, Texas.

Governor Abbott’s press statement issued on November 6, 2020, stated (3) teams consisting of 20 military medical providers each will support certain El Paso city hospitals: the University Medical Center of El Paso, the Hospitals of Providence Transmountain Campus, and the Las Palmas Del Sol Medical Center.

Gov. Abbott added: "I thank the DOD for providing these resources to the El Paso community and for working alongside the Lone Star State to mitigate this coronavirus outbreak."

As of November 7, 2020, the city of El Paso’s dashboard reported 661 fatalities related to 61,104 coronavirus cases. 

And, El Paso southern neighbor, the city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, recently reported over 1,000 fatalities related to COVID-19.

To address this outbreak, Gov. Abbott previously announced on October 25th, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services deployed two 35-person Disaster Medical Assistance Teams and a Trauma Critical Care Team, to El Paso and to the Texas State Operations Center, to assist with the coordination of federal assets to support this mission.

In addition to the state of Texas’s support for the El Paso outbreak, Maj. Gen. Sean Bernabe, the 1st Armored Division commander at Fort Bliss, Texas, declared a public health emergency for his base which will remain in effect for 30 days unless terminated or extended. Public health emergencies authorize commanders to take preventive steps, including restricting base movement and limiting services.

Fort Bliss is a United States Army post located in both New Mexico and Texas, with its headquarters in El Paso, Texas.

Just three weeks after taking command of Fort Bliss, Texas, Maj. Gen. Bernabe’s declaration on November 6, 2020, enables Fort Bliss personnel to better prepare the William Beaumont Army Medical Center to deliver care for service members and veterans in the coming weeks, post officials said in a statement.

According to the MilitaryTimes reporting on November 6, 2020, a soldier with knowledge of the local situation said there have been about 20 coronavirus cases among soldiers with 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, about half of whom are asymptomatic.

The Pentagon provides aggregate COVID-19 case numbers for each service since the global pandemic began in early 2020. As of November 6, 2020, the DOD reported 60,379 coronavirus cases, but only (9) COVID-19 related fatalities amongst active-duty personnel during 2020.

And on November 4, 2020, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the release of the Office of Information and Technology’s (OIT) 2020 Year in Review, “Driving Digital Transformation at VA,” a report highlighting the VA’s innovative IT initiatives that dramatically improve Veterans’ access to benefits and services.

As an example of the VA’s new technology innovations, the expanded VA Video Connect systems helped Veterans conduct more than 1.5 million telehealth appointments from non-VA sites during the coronavirus pandemic, a 1,066% surge in usage compared to 2019.

CoronavirusToday publishes research-based pandemic news.