Pentagon Readies 1K Troops to Help COVID Response Amid Omicron Surge Pentagon spokesman John Kirby listens to a reporter's question during a media briefing at the Pentagon, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
By Fran Beyer | Tuesday, 21 December 2021 02:53 PM
The Pentagon is preparing to send 1,000 military medical professionals to U.S. hospitals as the omicron variant of COVID-19 takes hold across the country, Military.com reported Tuesday.
The White House is directing military doctors, nurses, paramedics and other medical personnel to prepare to be sent if needed in January and February, the military news outlet reported.
They’ll join 240 military medical professionals already in seven states, where teams of 20 Army, Navy and Air Force members are working in 12 hospitals in Indiana, Wisconsin, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana and New Mexico, Military.com reported.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday the Department of Defense is working with the Department of Health and Human Services and Federal Emergency Management Agency to set up where service members may be needed. There’s been no decision yet on which units will be tapped for the mission, news outlet reported.
"Right now, we're still sourcing the requirement, and we're working with interagency to do that appropriately. Then, of course, warning orders and alerts will go out to the services," Kirby said.
The U.S. military took on a significant role in the response at the start of the pandemic, setting up field hospitals across the country in anticipation of medical facilities becoming overwhelmed.
"Since COVID began, our military medical personnel have been committed to fighting the pandemic and supporting our local, state and federal partners and communities in need," Lt. Gen. John Evans, U.S. Army North commander, said in a news release.
"As we look ahead to the holiday season and 2022, we must remain vigilant in our fight. … We must keep in our thoughts the service members and healthcare professionals on the front lines."
According to Military.com, the Pentagon has reported more than 400,000 cases of COVID-19 among military personnel, civilian workers, family members and contractors, including 258,800 cases in U.S. troops.
Of those cases, 625 people have died, including 80 service members, 382 civilian employees, 34 dependent family members and 129 contractors.
Cases within the Department of Veterans Affairs have topped 400,000 as of Tuesday including patients and employees, Military.com reported. More than 17,467 veterans in the VA Health System have died from the illness, as have 237 employees.