U.S. Reps. Filemon Vela and Congressman Vicente Gonzalez urged Governor Greg Abbott to immediately assign National Guard forces to the Rio Grande Valley to address the spiraling COVID-19 crisis in the region.
The congressmen say demand for intensive care unit (ICU) beds has surpassed capacity in counties on the U.S.-Mexico border. Lacking space for COVID-19 patients in ICUs, emergency rooms across the Lower Rio Grande Valley are forced to continue to care for those who need intensive treatment even as new patients arrive at higher and higher rates.
To assist health care personnel with the growing number of coronavirus cases, Vela and Gonzalez urged Governor Abbott to call on the White House to withdraw the current Presidentially-authorized 5,500 servicemembers deployed at the border, and immediately shift those personnel and resources to provide medical support and expand hospital capacity in the RGV.
“In South Texas, we are rapidly reaching the point at which local resources will no longer be enough to provide hospital care for the growing COVID-19 caseload, and we urge the establishment of field hospitals and deployment of military personnel to prevent a humanitarian crisis in communities on the U.S.-Mexico border,” said the Congressmen. “The deployment of military members with training, equipment and technology, along with deployable field hospitals, is urgently needed to address shortfalls, including testing, ICU beds, and emergency department capacity.”