Army Reserve clinicians headed to Stamford Hospital to fight coronavirus
STAMFORD — National Guard trucks are a common sight at Stamford Hospital these days, and more help is arriving as the health facility — in the city with the most coronavirus cases in the state — fights to stem the spread of the illness through the region.
Gov. Ned Lamont has announced the U.S. Army Reserve Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force is joining the Connecticut National Guard to provide support at the hospital, which has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases, leading to one to two deaths a day at the facility.
Lamont said about 85 soldiers from the task force will provide additional medical staff to Stamford Hospital. The Army Reserve group is comprised of medical clinicians, including clinical and administrative staff, as well as experts in operational medicine, infectious diseases, preventive medicine, nursing and respiratory therapy.
The group will report to Dual-Status Commander Brigadier General Ralph Hedenberg, a Connecticut Guardsman. Hedenberg is expected to be approved by the U.S. Secretary of Defense as the commander for federal and National Guard forces within Connecticut, according to a statement from Lamont’s office.
Since last weekend, the National Guard has been working to build more patient space on the Stamford Hospital campus.
Andie Jodko, spokesperson for Stamford Hospital, said activity would continue to ramp up between Wednesday and Thursday. About 165 military personnel from the Army, Army Reserves, Connecticut National Guard, Connecticut Air National Guard and the U.S. Navy have arrived at the hospital in recent days.
Many are helping to prepare the Wheeler Building on the campus to accommodate patients. Jodko said they would also be setting up a tent on the campus for additional patient space.
The Wheeler Building was decommissioned three years ago, and was previously a hospital.