Coronavirus News: Navy commander from California joins battle against COVID-19 in NYC

KIPS BAY, Manhattan (WABC) -- In the battle against COVID-19, many people across the country have answered the call to help patients in the Tri-State area including a Navy reservist from California.

Cecilia Mendoza may look like any other nurse at Bellevue Hospital, but she's a commander in the U.S. Navy, who left her 12-year-old daughter and her husband back home in Los Angeles so she could help New Yorkers at their darkest hour.

Mendoza is part of the massive operation pieced together in a matter of weeks by every branch of the military.

The usual mission of the Joint Taskforce Civil Support is to respond to a nuclear attack on an American city. However, in this very different disaster, they took over the Javits Center in a matter of weeks.

During a Skype interview with Major General Bill Hall from inside the Javits Center, he said that his warriors are coming up alongside New Yorkers to get everyone back to business.

The military says it was planning for the worst when it built a 2,500 bed hospital at the Javits Center.

Commander Mendoza was among the doctors and nurses deployed to take care of people there, but then the need turned out to be elsewhere and Mendoza's orders changed.

Now, she's one of 535 military doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists deployed to more than 10 hospitals across the city. Mendoza has personally treated 50 patients in two weeks.

The commander says what touches her the most is each day at 7 p.m., everyone in the community comes out and starts clapping and cheering for the essential workers.

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