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Minnesota Reservists Deploy To One Of NYC's Hardest-Hit Hospitals To Battle COVID-19

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A group of citizen soldiers from Minnesota continue to work in the New York City area to help battle COVID-19.

The medical professionals from the 934th Aeromedical Staging Squadron were sent to the U.S. epicenter to relieve civilian personnel in the hospitals that were overrun by a surge in patients.

In New York City, Health care workers on the front lines were overwhelmed with the COVID-19 outbreak. That's when the government sent military medical personnel to help.

"It was 16 hours notice from when we got the official word that we were tasked to go until we had to show up to our unit. We were there for, minimum hours, maybe two or three and then we boarded a C-130," Cpt. Kristy Saylor said.

Five members of the 934th Aeromedical Staging Squadron stationed at MSP Airport are part of 800 mobilized reservists from Army, Air Force and Navy providing health care in seven hospitals throughout the New York City area, the USNS Comfort and the Javits Medical Station.

"We went to Lincoln Hospital, which is in the Bronx. It's known as one of the two hardest hit hospitals in all of New York," Tech Sgt. David Pasko said.

Pasko is a respiratory therapist. He says the patient load was constant.

"It was pretty overwhelming the amount of patients that were there on ventilators and the amount of work we had to do, going room to room, making sure everyone was safe, and tweaking settings on the ventilators, making sure we are optimizing our ability to help these patients," Pasko said.

"For us on the floor it was back to back like you finished one task and it was straight to another task and you finished that one and you're straight to another task," Rosa Blackbeer said.

Their work has been just as important as the collaborative effort that bought them all together.

"This is the first time that I have been personally involved in more of a humanitarian mission, in seeing FEMA, Joint Services, DOD, civilians all come together to tackle a crisis," Lt. Col. Cynthia Eaton said.

The military calls them Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force. Here in Minnesota, we call them heroes.

No word on when they will return home.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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