SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has formally requested that the U.S. Defense Department deploy a staffed 248-bed U.S. Army combat support hospital (CSH) to Albuquerque as a proactive measure intended to enhance the state’s treatment capacity.

“This CSH is urgently needed to support the State of New Mexico’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which threatens to overwhelm our existing medical treatment facilities and resources,” Lujan Grisham wrote Wednesday in a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

The governor made the request under a federal law that authorizes the U.S. government to provide states with emergency medical assistance.

Lujan Grisham asked that the hospital be placed under the operational control of Brigadier General Michele K. LaMontagne of the New Mexico National Guard.

The governor’s request that the hospital be deployed to Albuquerque is part of a comprehensive state response to the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. That response has included stay-at-home instructions and other efforts to prevent spread of the disease, as well as assistance for unemployed workers and distressed businesses.