After the first evacuations of patients from Mulhouse to hospitals in the South via a Air Force A330 MRTT with Morphee system to relieve the hospital structures of Colmar and Mulhouse, the French Navy and the army are in turn mobilized. Thus, by decision of the President of the Republic, the Tonnerre building, an amphibious helicopter carrier for the French Navy, will soon set sail to evacuate patients suffering from coronavirus in intensive care from Corsica to health establishments that can treat them. Le Tonnerre has an on-board hospital, with two operating rooms and 69 medical beds.
The field hospital in Mulhouse
For its part, the army, and more specifically the train regiment, on Friday transported on board 16 trucks to Mulhouse the Military Resuscitation Element (EMR) of the Armed Forces Health Service (SSA). Or the field hospital promised by Emmanuel Macron to strengthen the public hospital service in the Great East, a region particularly affected by Covid-19. The establishment of this EMR, which is a modular medical structure under a tent, consists of reconfiguring it in order to adapt it to the specific need of COVID-19 (resuscitation, ventilation). This structure has a capacity of 30 beds in intensive care. She will “army” by personnel from the Army Health Service and the Army Regiment, the Specific Capacity of the Medical Regiment (RMED) of La Valbonne.
In coordination with the Directorate General for Health (DGS), the decision was made to deploy this military resuscitation element in Mulhouse, in the Haut-Rhin. According to the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the EMR deployment schedule will take place in three phases: Thursday, March 19, recognition of the EMR deployment site near the Mulhouse hospital, then Friday, March 20, departure from logistics convoy from Chanteau bound for Mulhouse, and finally, Saturday March 21, start of installation of the EMR structure. “Its full operational capacity will be announced later”, said the ministry.
The military health service on the war footing
The SSA has also activated five of its eight army training hospitals (HIA): Begin (which has expertise in infectious diseases) and Percy in Ile-de-France, Saint-Anne and Laveran in Provence-Alpes- Côte d’Azur (PACA), and Clermont-Tonnerre in Brittany. These hospitals have a capacity of around 100 beds reserved for Covid-19 patients, including 40 in intensive care.
In addition, the Ministry of the Armed Forces recently made available five million surgical masks from the Ministry of Health. These masks of the SSA are in the course of routing towards a storage site of Public Health France (SPF). Three deliveries were made between March 18 and 20. The Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) is also mobilized. Thus, its expertise in the epidemiological field is mobilized to test several prototypes of masks offered by manufacturers. The results of the tests are expected in the coming days. If necessary, their manufacturing will make it possible to make new masks available for the people who need them most.
The army remains more than ever present
Finally, the armies obviously remain focused on their essential missions to protect the French: nuclear deterrence, the fight against terrorism in external operations and in the framework of Operation Sentinel, the protection of our airspace, of our satellites, maritime surveillance or the fight against trafficking. In the current context, Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) have been implemented throughout the department, in particular in each army and within each unit, to ensure all of the essential missions for the protection of citizens, whatever whatever the situation may be. “For several weeks, you have been preparing to face this crisis. You have updated the business continuity plans in this unique context “, recently stated the Minister of the Armed Forces in a message addressed to the civil and military personnel of the ministry.
“Our promise is to keep the operational armed forces at the service of the Nation. Our commitment is to protect the French. Our duty, in the face of this unprecedented coronavirus crisis, is to maintain these two reasons for ‘to be’, explained Florence Parly.