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NEWS | Jan. 27, 2022

Maryland National Guard delivers masks, COVID test kits

By Staff Sgt. Sarah McClanahan, Maryland National Guard Public Affairs Office

BALTIMORE – The Maryland National Guard’s 729th Quartermaster Composite Supply Company is delivering COVID-19 test kits and masks from a Strategic National Stockpile warehouse to Maryland nursing facilities, testing sites and vaccination clinics.

The MDNG is helping the Maryland Department of Health distribute 20 million KN95 and N95 masks, which provide more protection against the coronavirus than cloth and general use face masks. The Guard is also distributing Remdesivir, one of the treatments believed to be effective against the Omicron variant, to institutional pharmacies that directly serve skilled nursing facilities across the state.

“The men and women of the Maryland National Guard have been incredible partners throughout the pandemic and have once again stepped up on many fronts to keep Marylanders protected against COVID-19,” said MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “During this latest surge, their contributions with the distribution of COVID masks, tests and antivirals, support at our hospitals and nursing facilities, and so much more across Maryland have been invaluable to our COVID response.”

In addition to the mask and Remdesivir missions, as many as 1,000 MDNG members will help MDH with COVID-19 testing and support hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. For many Guardsmen, this is a continuation of their service to Maryland communities since the pandemic began.

“I actually always wanted to join the military, but I didn’t know what branch,” said Spc. Marianne Webb, an automated logistics specialist for the 729th QM Composite Supply Co., who is on COVID response duty for the second time. “I figured the National Guard would be helpful because I can serve in the community that I grew up in, and that’s why this is important to me. It’s definitely very rewarding. I feel like I’m giving back.”

Despite the fact that COVID-19 hospitalizations in Maryland are dropping at one of the fastest rates in the United States, supporting the state’s response is especially critical for the immunocompromised and other at-risk Marylanders. 

Distributing protective supplies and other medical equipment helps keep them as protected as possible, according to Sgt. Shanay Clay, noncommissioned officer in charge of the 729th QM Composite Supply Co. troops supporting the distribution mission.

“Personally, it feels good,” said Clay. “It feels really good to know that just this one small thing could potentially save a life.”