LODI (CBS13) – San Joaquin County now has the soldiers to fight the battle against the coronavirus, as dozens of military healthcare professionals were deployed to two area hospitals to assist as ICU units are depleted.

“This really gives a morale boost for all our associates that work for us,” said Brooke McCollough, with Adventist Health Lodi Memorial Hospital.

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According to the U.S. Department of Defense, 75 doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists with the Army and Air Force arrived at Travis Air Force Base and were quickly vaccinated, debriefed and deployed. They’re being sent to four hospitals statewide, including Adventist Health Lodi Memorial and Dameron Hospital in Stockton, where ICU bed capacity for both sits at zero percent.

It’s a much-needed shot in the arm for staff.

“It gives them that encouragement that they are not fighting this battle alone, that they have somebody alongside them that are also fighting this battle with them,” McCollough said.

Their first steps for the deployed in the battle are orientation, a tour of the facility they’ll be working at and face mask fittings.

“Tomorrow they will do computer training. and side by side nursing care with a nurse from our facility to help orient them to each unit that they are going to specifically be working on,” McCollough said on Tuesday.

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The goal is to have the team ready to work with patients by Thursday. The four hospitals were chosen because they have bed capacity but not the staff – and they have the physical space. It will mean Adventist Health Lodi Memorial can serve an additional 25 patients, with 10 being in the ICU.

“So this will increase our capacity and allow other facilities to transfer patients to us should we need to because they are so impacted themselves,” McCollough said.

Marissa Matta, a San Joaquin County EMS specialist said, “The arrival of this team is something we don’t take lightly. We’re really grateful for that resource.”

San Joaquin County emergency medical services say the goal is to serve COVID patients locally rather than send them out regionally. With this injection of help-they hope to get to COVID patients sooner.

“For example, patients one week ago, their symptoms were mild and now a week later, they’re septic and need all this additional care. So one of the main messages ems is trying to send is do not delay seeking care,” Matta said.

San Joaquin County now has 355 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The military medical professionals are expected to be there for thirty days.

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