St. Louis regional health care systems to announce pandemic task force

St. Louis regional health care systems to announce pandemic task force

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ST. LOUIS — Several health care systems in the St. Louis area, including BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSM Health and St. Luke's Hospital, on Saturday will announce a St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, according to a Friday news release. 

City officials will host a press conference at 10 a.m. Saturday at Danis Field House at Saint Louis University High School, 4970 Oakland Drive, to formally introduce the task force. 

The task force will "ensure collaboration and the best possible patient care and coordination of supplies, hospital beds and other critical assets," as well as hold daily press briefings, according to the release. 

Alex Garza, chief medical officer for SSM Health, will serve as incident commander. Garza has practiced and taught medicine for 21 years, and he previously served as assistant secretary and chief medical officer to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In that position, he led the U.S.' 2009 response to the H1N1 pandemic.

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