Thursday, February 20, 2020
News on Pathogens and Preparedness

HHS Critical Care Air Transport Team Called Into Action for Wuhan Evacuations

Responders from the HHS Critical Care Air Transport Team were called into action as part of the evacuation efforts of Americans from Wuhan in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. On February 7, these responders from the National Disaster Medical System and the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) accompanied evacuees on a plane to Omaha and stood ready to provide medical care in the event it was required.

During a federally declared disaster or public health emergency, the number of patients that need to be evacuated or cared for may exceed state and local resources. When that happens, states can request federal assistance. 

In response, the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), provides medical teams and equipment to support the initial emergency response, transportation, and definitive care for patients who are at-risk or have become seriously ill or injured as the result of the disaster or emergency.

Federal patient movement is a coordinated partnership between HHS, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Department of Defense (DoD). 

When evacuees from Wuhan arrived at Travis Air Force Base on February 5, responders from the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) and the USPHS were there to evaluate evacuees for symptoms of COVID-19 and stood ready to help.

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