ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – New Jersey National Guard Airmen and Soldiers answered the call for volunteers to set up a third field medical station in the Garden State to assist in the battle against coronavirus.
The 250-bed facility at the Atlantic City Convention Center will be used for non-COVID-19 patients to make more space available in the state’s hospitals for patients suffering from the virus.
The facility is a collaborative effort by many organizations, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, North Atlantic Division; the New Jersey State Police; the Office of Emergency Management; the Department of Health; labor unions; and the New Jersey National Guard’s Joint Task Force-57.
It will be led by a chief medical officer and a chief nursing officer, said Judith M. Persichilli, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health. Staff at all three sites will include physicians, registered nurses, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, respiratory therapists, behavioral health workers, social workers, and the New Jersey National Guard.
“We’re tasked with deploying, inventorying, and setting up 250 patient care areas,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Nicholas Cincotti, a logistics officer with the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing.
Cincotti said the facility will be fully ready by April 14.
“We’ve been working here for the past two days with our civilian counterparts, the New Jersey State Police, and other agencies,” he said. “It’s been a great relationship so far, being able to support their mission: to help our fellow New Jerseyans get through this crisis.”
Joint Task Force service members set up ambulatory beds, wheelchairs, and other medical equipment for the patient areas that were shipped to the site by FEMA.
“I’m actually really proud to be part of it,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Tiffany Aiello, a medic from the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 108th Wing out of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. “These are very different times, so I’m happy to be helping out. It’s a lot of work, but as long as we can help people, I’m happy to be doing it.”
“It’s fantastic to be activated to help New Jersey in a time of need,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ryan Nguyen, from the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing. “I’m more than happy to do it, especially working with all these different [Air and Army Guard] shops. It just goes to show that no matter where we come from, we all have the same mission and same goal we have to get accomplished as a team.”
Cincotti, who was active duty Air Force the past four years, said he came on duty with the New Jersey Air National Guard March 31 and began this mission April 1. “Before I was active duty, I was enlisted in the New Jersey Air National Guard, and one big facet that I was missing personally in my life was having that direct community impact. I was excited to get back and get on the ground running to help my community through this and be there for them.”