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Deployed Army Hospital Readies for Patients

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U.S. Army
Friday, April 03, 2020

Roughly 500 soldiers are on the ground setting up an emergency 250-bed field hospital in the Seattle area as it prepares to open to patients, senior leaders said.

“We’ll be ready to go early next week,” said Lt. Col. Jason Hughes, commander of the 10th Field Hospital, during a press briefing April 2.

Inside the CenturyLink Field Event Center, Army medical staff will see non-COVID-19 patients to alleviate some stress on local hospitals and clinics overwhelmed by the growing coronavirus pandemic.

The Seattle-area field hospital is part of a larger Army response in the fight against COVID-19. On March 30, the Army opened a  field hospital at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, equipped with nearly 3,000 beds, to help local hospitals there.

In Seattle, soldiers are quickly completing the facility, which will be equipped with intensive-care beds, intermediate-care beds, a laboratory, blood banking capability, surgical capabilities, a radiological unit and emergency room, as well as 60 ventilators and ventilator beds.

“This will allow those [local] hospitals to increase capacity to take care of COVID patients,” said Col. Hope Williamson-Younce, commander of the 627th Hospital Center based at Fort Carson, Colorado.

The field hospital will be a “referral facility,” so its emergency room will not operate like a typical ER, and which patients will come to the hospital will be determined between local hospitals and field staff, Hughes said.

“The standard of care will be the same,” Hughes said. “We just want to make sure we have those specialties and we understand the needs of the patient so that the care they receive here is the same they would at the local hospital they’re being referred to us by.”

Patients will be screened for the virus and cleared before being transferred to the field hospital, where they’ll be screened again before entering out of “an abundance of precaution,” Williamson-Younce said.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville visited the Seattle hospital on April 1 after visiting the New York hospital on March 29.