COLORADO SPRINGS– As the COVID–19 coronavirus spreads across the country, Fort Carson’s 10th Combat Support Hospital team is heading to the place where it first spread rapidly in the United States – Washington State.
Around 200 soldiers trained as medics, doctors, surgeons, nurses, lab techs, and microbiologists boarded two flights Friday heading to Evergreen State to build a 148-bed field hospital and treat the patients that come in.
“We’ll go there for whatever FEMA directs us to do, likely set up our hospital and take the pressure off of the local health care system,” said LTC Jason Hughes, the commander of the Combat Support Hospital.
The hospital will be up in a week, Hughes says. It will take about 72 hours to build a facility for 32 beds, then four or five more days to get the next 116 beds fully functional.
The hospital they create will be like a level one trauma center, with an emergency room, operating room, intensive care unit, and intermediate care facility.
“We train every day to do this at our medical treatment facilities with the Department of Defense. We run our medics through there, our doctors work every day with patient care,” said Hughes.
Hughes estimates about 40 percent of the team has deployed before with the rest seeing this as their first deployment. It is an unusual one, he admits, given that this division’s last deployment was to Iraq.
Personally, it’s Hughes’s first stateside deployment.
“We exist to save and sustain lives worldwide, so whether it’s a deployed environment in Iraq or Afghanistan or whether it’s Washington State, that’s why we exist and that’s why we’re going,” Hughes said, “This is why we signed up to serve, so it’s a blessing for us to serve the American people here on our home soil.”