The Pentagon is sending 580 medical personnel to Texas to help combat a surge in coronavirus cases seen in the state.
U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) confirmed the Pentagon plans in a statement Sunday, reported by The Washington Times. The decision to send the medical personnel comes as cases have spiked in Texas since June.
“As Part of the ongoing whole-on-nation response to COVID-19, U.S. Northern Command has assigned approximately 580 Department of Defense medical personnel in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the State of Texas,” the NORTHCOM statement read.
The announcement comes as coronavirus cases have surged in Texas and other states like Arizona, California, and Florida.
Texas has recorded more than 254,000 coronavirus cases, of which 3,246 have been fatal. According to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus case tracking map, the number of cases in Texas more than tripled since June 12, when case numbers were at 84,000.
Overall, the U.S. has confirmed over 3.3 million coronavirus cases of which over 135,000 have been fatal. The U.S. surpassed the 3 million case mark last week.
The surge in cases in Texas recently prompted Gov. Greg Abbott to pause the state’s reopening plans. Abbott also ordered bars and restaurants to close or reduce their seating capacity to increase social distancing.
“The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses,” Abbott said of the decision. “This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business.”
Prior to the Sunday announcement, NORTHCOM issued a tweet on July 6 indicating it had sent personnel to San Antonio, Texas in response to a FEMA request.
“At the request of @fema, @DeptofDefense is deploying approximately 50 medical and support personnel from the 627th Hospital Center from Fort Carson, Colorado to provide medical assistance by embedding in medical care facilities in the San Antonio, Texas area,” NORTHCOM tweeted.
“The medical personnel include emergency room and critical care nurses, respiratory specialists and support personnel. #COVID19 #DoD.”
— U.S. Northern Command (@USNorthernCmd) July 6, 2020
The Pentagon has deployed troops and medical personnel throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
During the height of the coronavirus outbreak in New York, the U.S. Navy deployed the hospital ship USNS Comfort to provide additional hospital capacity. The New York Army National Guard also worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to set up a makeshift field hospital at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City to provide further hospital capacity.