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Delaware Airman uses civilian expertise in COVID-19 response

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Tyrell Hargrove with the Delaware National Guard inspects personal protective equipment inside Delaware Emergency Management Agency headquarters, Smyrna, Del., March 27, 2020. Hargrove is helping evaluate sites that can be used as acute care facilities should hospitals become overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Tyrell Hargrove with the Delaware National Guard inspects personal protective equipment inside Delaware Emergency Management Agency headquarters, Smyrna, Del., March 27, 2020. Hargrove is helping evaluate sites that can be used as acute care facilities should hospitals become overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

NEW CASTLE, Del. — Citizen-Airman 1st Lt. Tyrell Hargrove spends 28 days a month working as a critical care nurse at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center. During “drill weekends,” he is assigned to the Delaware National Guard’s 166th Medical Group.

Early in Delaware’s fight in the COVID-19 crisis, he was called to state active duty to serve as a medical liaison officer working with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Hargrove is a member of the Medical Surge Task Force charged with surveying sites for potential ad hoc facilities that could serve as acute care centers should hospitals become overwhelmed with patients infected with the coronavirus. These facilities could provide safe places for the treatment of non-critical, acute care patients, taking some of the burden off Delaware’s critical care facilities.

Coupled with the Corps of Engineers’ construction capacity and DEMA’s emergency management facility, Hargrove’s insights enable him to assess the medical feasibility of turning a warehouse, conference space or even a gymnasium into an acute care facility. The task force is looking to open facilities in all three Delaware counties.

“It makes my life fulfilling to help people in either a military capacity with the Delaware National Guard or in my regular career as a critical care nurse helping our veterans,” said Hargrove.

The team’s mission, in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Delaware, is part of federal, state and local efforts to respond to the public health emergency.

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