National Guard to assist FEMA with makeshift Detroit field hospital

By: - April 1, 2020 10:29 am

TCF Center in Detroit, April 1, 2020 |Ken Coleman

About 20 members of the Michigan National Guard will be providing logistical support to the effort to turn Detroit’s TCF Center into a federal medical station, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office announced Wednesday morning.

The National Guardsmen and women are assisting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with the operation through Wednesday, helping with an inventory of equipment and supplies as the TCF Center is set up to take COVID-19 patients to staunch overflow at nearby hospitals.

US Army Corps of Engineers truck outside TCF Center in Detroit, April 1, 2020 | Ken Coleman

The field hospital, established in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will hold around 1,000 beds.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement that the decision to use the TCF Center for the federal medical station is “absolutely necessary to protect the health of the residents of Michigan.” Duggan alluded in a press conference Tuesday that there may need to be additional field hospitals established.

“Today’s Michigan National Guard, with its two readiness centers and more than 300 members that reside in the city limits, is a proud member of the community,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, Adjutant General and Director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “The Michigan National Guard stands ready to support Detroit in its fight against COVID-19.”

On Monday, President Donald Trump granted Whitmer’s request to allocate and order up to 3,000 members of the Michigan Army and Air National Guard for humanitarian missions for up to 90 days.

“The state of Michigan is thankful for the sustaining presence of the men and women of the Michigan National Guard as we continue our work to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said in a statement. “The National Guard is a team of dedicated Michigan citizens invested as partners in navigating challenges that face our communities like COVID-19.”

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, Native issues and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).