The Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan was turned over to an integrated health care network called Northwell Health on May 5, a command official said Monday. Previously, troops from the 9th Hospital Center out of Fort Hood, Texas, and the 531st Hospital Center out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, helped staff the facility.
“We transferred the last patients from Javits and were mission complete on May 1,” said Army North spokesman Maj. Paul T. Bell. “We are currently in the process of redeploying personnel and equipment from the Javits Center, and we expect to be complete within the next couple days.”
New York has been one of the hardest hit states in the country with more than 300,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said Monday that the city’s shutdown could end in June so long as COVID-19-related hospitalizations continue to trend downwards.
“In recent days, we’ve had much better news,” said de Blasio. “We’re still not out of the woods, but much better news.”
Alternative care facilities established in Detroit, Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas and New Orleans have also concluded their medical support, according to an Army North press release. Service members staffing those facilities are returning to their homes stations.
“Together, we have helped flatten the curve," Army North commander Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson said in a statement accompanying the release. "Going forward, we will continue to meet our nation’s needs whether it’s the COVID-19 response, our homeland defense mission, or providing support for other potential DoD responses such as earthquake, hurricane, or wildfire response.”
In addition to the deployment of active duty hospital centers, the Army Reserve had dispatched 85-soldier task forces capable of treating low-acuity patients to various hotspots around the country. The task forces did not come with their own equipment, but included administrative staff, infectious disease and preventive medicine specialists, nurses, respiratory therapists and other medical subject matter experts.
Four of those Army Reserve task forces that were deployed to the Javits Center in New York City, the Boston Convention and Events Center in Boston, and the TCF Center in Detroit have completed their medical support missions and started to redeploy home.
“We remain committed to helping the American people and will continue to work with FEMA, and other federal, state, and local partners to plan for and provide support in response to COVID-19 as long as needed,” said Richardson, who is also serving as the Pentagon’s COVID-19 response Joint Force Land Component Commander, or JFLCC.
The press release from Army North stated that the JFLCC is starting to see a reduced demand for medical support around the country and is in the process of reallocating missions and reducing troops where necessary.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.