US military team arrives in Fresno to help local hospitals fight COVID-19

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Help has landed at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.

A team from the Department of Defense arrived Tuesday, and will soon provide some relief to the overwhelmed hospital system.

"Their mission is to increase the number of ICU beds available in this case at CRMC, which does have the capacity to increase. They just need the staffing and that's what this will do," says Fresno County EMS director Dan Lynch.

At least 15 personnel are from the US Air Force while another five are a team of medical personnel from the U.S. Army.

Their arrival comes as Fresno County health officials report the most fatalities they've seen in one month since the pandemic began.

There are more than 630 people hospitalized in Fresno County, and medical workers are trying to keep up with the surge by converting corridors to patient care wards.

Lynch says their 50 bed Alternative Care Site at CRMC is currently serving about 20 patients, and about 10 at the Porterville site.

"It's a relief valve for some of the hospitals to get some of those patients moved out."

Lynch says the county is working with St. Agnes Medical Center to hopefully open another alternate care site at their campus.
Health officials say it's only going to get worse as they brace for new cases from the holidays.

They are staying hopeful as the county continues to receive shipments of both vaccines and administer them to those on the frontlines.

"There is light at the end of that tunnel," says Lynch.
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