Governor Greg Abbott announced Sunday that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) activated additional resources to help combat COVID-19 in the El Paso region, while Senator John Cornyn urged the Army to approve the use of William Beaumont Army Medical Center to relieve pressure on the regional medical situation due to Covid-19.
“Texas is grateful to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for providing these crucial resources and for working alongside state and local officials to combat the spread of COVID-19 in El Paso,” said Governor Abbott. “We are working closely with our federal and local partners to meet the needs of the El Paso community and ultimately bring hospitalizations down.”
According to the governor’s office, these resources will arrive this week and are based on needs assessments and communication between the local medical community and state and federal officials.
HHS is deploying two 35-person Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) and a Trauma Critical Care Team (TCCT). Additionally, HHS is deploying Regional Emergency Coordinators from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response to El Paso and to the Texas State Operations Center to assist with the coordination of federal assets to support this mission.
At almost the same time, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) called Assistant Secretary of Defense Kenneth Rapuano to request he open the William Beaumont Army Medical Center to relieve pressure on El Paso area medical facilities that have run out of bed space.
Earlier this week, the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) submitted a request to the Defense Health Agency (DHA) to open the William Beaumont Army Medical Center with the support of Gov. Abbott and Mayor Dee Margo.
Additional help announced by Gov. Abbott are two HHS 35-person Disaster Medical Assistance Teams, a Critical Care Team, and Regional Emergency Coordinators from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response to El Paso and the Texas State Operations Center to assist with the coordination of federal assets to combat COVID-19 in El Paso.
He also announced that the TDEM will establish an alternate care site at the El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center with a capacity of 50 beds, able to expand to 100 beds if needed.