AUSTIN — Governor Greg Abbott is requesting the use of William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC) for civilian non-COVID patients in El Paso.

A phone call between Governor Abbott and Dr. Robert Kadlec, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), to discuss hospital capacity needs in the City of El Paso was held Saturday morning.

According to the Governor’s office, he and Dr. Kadlec discussed the need to expand hospital capacity in El Paso given the recent surge in positive cases and hospitalizations in the area.  Governor Abbott asked Dr. Kadlec to authorize the use of the William Beaumont Army Medical Center on Fort Bliss to house non-COVID patients to free up beds in El Paso-area hospitals for COVID patients. The Governor also detailed the additional steps the State of Texas is taking to contain the spread and expand hospital capacity in the region.

The use of federal medical facilities for civilian patients without COVID symptoms is not unheard of. The USNS Comfort was deployed to New York harbor at the height of the COVID crisis to handle overflow patients from nearby hospitals.