U.S. military medics and logistics experts are now operating in local hospitals crushed by a wave of COVID-19 patients.
The Department of Defense sent nearly 200 staff to California, and nearly 600 personnel to Texas.
Lt. Col. Ryan Gassman is the deputy commander of COVID Theater Hospital-1 at Travis Air Force Base north of San Francisco.
"We are not working on isolated wards. It's not like we have any Air Force tents that are set up outside. We are truly jumping into the staff in each of these hospitals to help support in any way, shape or form that we can."
Some of Gassman's teams are deployed in California's San Joaquin Valley, where hospitals were rapidly overwhelmed as coronavirus cases surged earlier this summer.
Doctors and nurses worked extra shifts and the patients kept coming.
Intensive care units overflowed and in some counties as many as 28% of those tested for the virus were confirmed to be infected.
"The acuity levels are high and COVID is very real. And, you know, our individuals, you know, we want to make sure we're taking care of them and check on their health and welfare."
The resulting toll is stark. As of Friday, there were only 20 intensive care unit beds left in all of San Joaquin County, which has a population of nearly 800,000.
Statewide, cases were set to hit or top half a million this week, and more than 9,000 Californians have died.