Officials at the U.S. Army are preparing a potential response effort to provide medical capacity for the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. Specifically, the service has given combat support hospitals (CSH) Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Washington and Fort Campbell, Kentucky “prepare to deploy” orders, military.com reports.  

“Every [medical] unit in the United States Army has been told to take a look at their capabilities and capacity so they can come back to us,” said Gen. James McConville.  

Although the Army shows willingness to aid in the response to COVID-19, Gen. McConville explained that CSH are designed as field hospitals composed of tents. Such conditions, McConville says, may not be conducive treatment sites for individuals afflicted by the virus.  

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The service also announced that it will be closing its recruitment stations and switching to virtual recruiting. The decision was made after six new recruits began showing symptoms of coronavirus. Gen. McConville said that that closing of recruiting stations will not affect initial training for new recruits.

“They are screened in the state, and then they move to the military entrance processing stations [MEPS] and they are screened there again to make sure there are no issues. And then they move to the sites where we execute initial military training,” said Gen. McConville.

Photo by Oliver Sommer