Reserve medics based at MacDill Air Force Base activated to fight COVID-19 in New York

A group of doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists who are from Tampa and in the Air Force Reserves are now working in local hospitals in New York City to help with the coronavirus pandemic.

Citizen Airmen loaded into a cargo plane Sunday bound for New York City. Tampa family doctor Major Jennalee Gaiser was one of six other medics aboard.

"We're happy to be here,” Gaiser said. “We're happy that the military is supporting this effort and we're excited to jump right in and work with the local hospitals and care for Americans.”

Gaiser and the rest of the group are now stationed at a local hospital in the Bronx.

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"We're all working on getting credentialed and getting assigned to teams so we can effectively take care of patients," Gaiser said.

They are part of more than 120 Air Force Reserve Airmen from all over the country. Each one was activated this week to help in New York City, which is the nation's biggest hot spot. So far, the country's largest city has seen more than 5,000 deaths from COVID-19.

"There's a lot that goes into every single day right now,” Gaiser explained. “I don't know about 16-hour days, but it's pretty darn close to 16 hours if not that.”

Currently, she and other doctors are helping where ever they're needed with the situation constantly evolving at a rapid pace. They were originally called to help at the Javits Center, but then were transferred to a local hospital in the Bronx where there's a greater need.

"As a physician, I have the knowledge and I have the abilities and skillsets to help people and the military right now is enabling that skill set and I'm really grateful and blessed that the military has put me in this position so I can help," Gaiser said.

It's unclear how long they could be there, but they will be there for at least the next few days, if not for a few weeks, so long as New York continues requesting federal assistance.

A second crew from MacDill will be deployed to New York, officials confirmed with FOX 13, but it's unclear when that will happen.

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