Soldiers from the 627th Hospital Center out of Fort Carson, Colorado and other medical units got the order last week to pack up the 250-bed hospital it had set up in CenturyLink Field Event Center.
"They were fully ready to go [with the] mission," Gen. James McConville told defense reporters at the Pentagon, describing his recent visit to the large event center.
"We built that capacity in four to five days; it was up in record time and ready to go, and then when they realized they had flattened the curve in Washington state and they no longer needed that capability, we basically boxed that hospital back up."
The medical facility in Seattle is made up of about 500 soldiers from the 62nd Medical Brigade and 47th Combat Support Hospital from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and from 627th Hospital Center and 10th Field Hospital from Fort Carson, Colorado.
"They are on a prepare-to-deploy [within] 48 hours, and then as we get the next mission assignment, that is where we will send them," McConville said.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday that the units may deploy to Chicago, but the decision was up to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Currently, there are two large cities expressing the need for support, said Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, who did not name the cities.
Aside from the medical units in Seattle, the active Army in late March also deployed the 531st Hospital Center from Fort Campbell, Kentucky and 9th Hospital Center from Fort Hood, Texas to New York City. The units helped set up a 1,000-bed hospital inside the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.
"As of last night, Javits Center had over 300 COVID-19 patients, and they have seen more than 840 patients to date," McConville said.
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at email@example.com.