DOD Responds to COVID-19 in Navajo Nation

DOD Responds to COVID-19 in Navajo Nation

(STL.News) At the request of the Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 12 Navy personnel deployed to the Navajo Nation reservation in New Mexico and Arizona to provide support to the Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, New Mexico.  The medical personnel have been working side-by-side with civilian and U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps health care providers to help treat COVID-19 patients.

“The relationship with the embedded nursing staff here has been great from the get go,” Navy Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Jagger, critical care nurse and Rural Rapid Response team leader said.

“They are family now,” Navy Lt. Cmdr. Scott Smith, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the hospital’s intensive care unit supervisor, said.

The medical providers are currently treating up to eight patients at one time in the COVID-19 positive ward at the medical center.  The ward is set up in an open room with beds alongside each other. As the pandemic progresses, the medical center is considering expanding the ward, allowing the providers to treat up to 15 patients at once.

“Bringing in that staff gave us the capability of doubling our bed capacity for the intensive care unit,” Smith said.

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