Military medical reinforcements arrive to help fight COVID-19 surge

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Military reinforcements arrived in the Houston area Monday, marking the latest sign of how bad the novel coronavirus has surged in the state and the city.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced days ago that hundreds of medical personnel from the military would come to Texas. The U.S. Army later confirmed 580 military medical workers would arrive to help care for COVID-19 patients.

Houston officials, including Dr. David Persse with the city health department, provided new details at a press conference Monday afternoon, saying the military medical task force has already begun to arrive in the area. A similar team has been in San Antonio for the past week.

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Persse said the unit will be taking over a wing of the United Memorial Medical Center to ease the burden on other area hospitals dealing with a surge of patients.

"It looks like it's going to be UMMC that has an empty wing, and they are going to establish between a 30 and 50 bed hospital there," Persse said.

Representatives from UMMC on Tidwell in the Independence Heights area told ABC13 military personnel arrived on location to greet hospital administrators and discuss initial plans.

"They will take patients and transfer from other hospitals to lighten the load of the other hospitals," Persse said.

The military has sent similar teams to other hard hit areas once considered to be epicenters.

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