WIESBADEN, Germany - For more than three months, Army Health Clinics have battled to contain the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), with everything from maximizing the virtual workforce to setting up field clinics as a safeguard against the pandemic.
At Wiesbaden Army Health Clinic, the fight against COVID-19 has given rise to medical protagonists working tirelessly to suppress the disease.
“We have changed our operations from what we were doing (before COVID-19), to what you see now,” said U.S. Army Capt. Joshua Davis, a family medicine physician at WAHC, describing the clinic’s robust posture against COVID-19 which includes a shelter designed to isolate possible COVID-19 patients from other populations. “We kind of just had to flip the switch and go full throttle.”
Davis, who leads operations at the COVID-19 Screening Clinic at WAHC, describes the effort toward containing the spread as “adapt and overcome,” adding the current conditions are what U.S. Army medical professionals prepare for.
“We train for this, but you can't train for this. We've done it as a team, this is our time to shine and we've been shining,” said Davis. “There is no routine every day is it's we're adjusting fire each and every day.”
With a small team of combat medics, Davis and other providers at the clinic continue to ensure the Wiesbaden community is medically ready. Wiesbaden is home of U.S. Army Europe Command, whose mission is to provide ready, combat-credible land forces to, and set the essential conditions for, U.S. European Command and NATO to deter aggression from any potential adversary in the European theater.
“Everybody rising to the occasion, getting everything taken care of not just with (COVID-19) operations, but also making sure we're not neglecting people who have multiple medical concerns and are still needing treatment,” said Davis. “We’re continuously re-engaging with our most vulnerable patients, making sure we're not overlooking anybody who might be in critical condition or needing extra medical care.”
As of July 1, more than 187,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed within Germany’s borders, according to the Robert Koch Institute, the German Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-equivalent, with nearly 9,000 of those cases being fatal. In the United States, more 2.5 million cases have been reported with over 126,000 fatalities.
Because of the severity of the disease, Davis acknowledged the courage and selflessness of combat medics who are at the frontlines against the pandemic.
“Army combat medics are the backbone of the operations, working long hours with the screening clinic and also transitioning back to seeing patients in our clinic,” said Davis. “They don't do this for recognition. It can feel like the whole world has been put on pause, but not with medical (personnel). There's no offseason, when there is a crisis, that's when we step up, that's when we respond.”