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US Army medical task force arrives in Houston to help fight coronavirus surge, officials say

File image of Texas National Guardsmen setting up a tent at coronavirus testing site in Texas. (MTT).
File image of Texas National Guardsmen setting up a tent at coronavirus testing site in Texas. (MTT). (KSAT)

HOUSTON – A U.S. Army Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force (UAMTF) arrived in Houston Monday to help fight the surge of coronavirus cases after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a mobilization of federal funds last week.

One task force has been in San Antonio since July 6 and the other task force arrived in Houston Monday. The 85-member task forces are comprised of medical and support professionals from the Army Reserve who will aid local health care efforts.

“Our ongoing partnership with the federal government is crucial to meeting the medical needs of Texans as we combat COVID-19 in our communities,” Abbott said. “Texas is grateful to the U.S. Department of Defense as well as President Trump and Vice President Pence for providing these additional resources and for working alongside our communities to keep Texans safe and mitigate the spread of this virus.”

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Multiple KPRC 2 requests for more information from Gov. Greg Abbott’s office about where the task force will be located in Houston went unanswered.

Within the last few weeks, COVID-19 cases have surged in Texas with Houston and Harris County becoming the epicenter of the outbreak in the Lone Star State. As of Monday afternoon, there were 258,658 cases reported in the state with about 122,828 considered active. There have been 3,192 coronavirus deaths and 132,638 recoveries. More than 45,300 of those cases are in Houston and Harris County, with 458 deaths and 14,148 recoveries.

More federal resources are expected to arrive in Texas in the near future, including four UAMTFs, a U.S. Navy Acute Care Team and four U.S. Navy Rapid Rural Response teams. These resources are in addition to the federal assessment teams in Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, McAllen, Laredo and El Paso.

The Army sent more than a dozen task forces to support COVID-19 relief efforts in hardest-hit areas, including New York City, Newark, Boston, Detroit and Philadelphia. Each unit is capable of assisting up to 250 patients.