AUSTIN, Texas - One general leading part of New York’s military response is from Central Texas. Major General Bill Hall was deployed four weeks ago to New York City to lead the military COVID-19 response in both New York and New Jersey.
“It's unlike anything that I've ever done and I have been to combat both in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said General Hall.
General Hall is the commander of Task Force Northeast at the request of FEMA. One of his duties is overseeing the Javits Center, a field hospital built by the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers in New York.
“The Javits Center was designed by the State Of New York, to provide overflow for the 55 hospitals in New York City,” said General Hall.
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The Javits Center was a convention center that was turned an overflow hospital in a matter of 24 hours. “Originally, we were here to treat non-COVID patients, but then the Department of Finance realized the need was for COVID so we rapidly went from non-COVID to COVID, which there's a lot of things that it entails to do that. We had about 24 hours to make that change,” said General Hall.
In just one day, the Javits Center was fully equipped to handle up to500 COVID-19 patients. “Capable of having about 500 patients in it with 96 ICU beds. [Rightnow] we're running about 350 to 390 patients,” said General Hall.
He says this alleviates hospital capacity. “It fills the gaps that they have, either due to absenteeism or, you know, sickness, but it also gives those doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists that have been on the frontlines, a break a day or two off, to recuperate,” he said.
General Hall says he has never seen anything like what’s happening int he New York tri-state area before but says it's been rewarding. “This experience is unlike anything I've done in my 33 years of service. It's just unbelievable to see the spirit of our warrior's and their ability to overcome what some would say are impossible tasks daily. It rejuvenates me every time I see what they can do,” he said.
General Hall says the response from both New York and New Jersey has been incredible.
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