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National Guard response to COVID-19

20-017 | April 5, 2020

As of Sunday morning, more than 21,300 Air and Army National Guard professionals began their day actively supporting the COVID-19 crisis response at the direction of their governors.

This morning, 18 states, two territories and the District of Columbia have been approved for use of federal funds for state missions under Title 32, with another 23 requests moving through the approval process.

“The health and safety of our fellow Americans and National Guard members; ensuring we are mission ready; and supporting our local, state and federal partners are my highest priorities as the Guard continues to support the whole-of-America COVID-19 fight,” said Gen. Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau.

National Guard efforts continue to focus on support to community-based testing sites, creating additional medical capacity, and providing logistical support to include transportation and distribution of medical supplies and food.

“Innovation tackling COVID-19 - The Georgia Guard mobilized infection control teams to facilities statewide to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The teams didn't exist a week ago,” said Lengyel.

Current National Guard COVID-19 response missions include, but are not limited to:

  • Full-time, 24-hour state Emergency Operations Center staffing to synchronize National Guard efforts with local and state mission partners to plan and execute an effective response;
  • Building and outfitting alternate care facilities to alleviate stress on medical infrastructure;
  • Supporting warehouse operations and logistics efforts to help deliver and distribute lifesaving medical equipment and critical supplies;
  • Delivering and distributing food in hard-hit communities and supporting food banks;
  • Manning call centers to be a knowledgeable and calming voice;
  • Providing vital Personal Protective Equipment training and delivery to civilian first responders;
  • Performing sample collection and delivery to medical personnel;
  • Providing support and symptoms screening to testing facilities and passenger terminals;
  • Providing transportation and assessment support to healthcare providers

If you were going to design an ideal military force to assist with a response like COVID-19, it would the National Guard. We are 450,000 strong in every state, territory, nearly every zip code in the country. Less time and distance = more lives saved.

The National Guard Bureau facilitates integration and synchronization of National Guard support to civil authorities and associated planning between states, the Department of Defense and federal partners. The National Guard's Coordination Center is a 24 / 7 operation working at increased capacity in anticipation of COVID-19 requirements and to ensure unified and rapid response efforts between its state and federal partners.

The National Guards of the 50 states, three territories and the District of Colombia have a very deep bench of nearly 450,000 experienced and proven Air and Army National Guard professionals. Guard units frequently train side-by-side with state and local emergency responders, making them well-suited for domestic operations.

National Guard members work and live in every community across the nation and have a proven track record of success supporting civilian authorities after homeland emergencies. The National Guard has unique capabilities such as its Civil Support Teams that could provide local first responders with additional resources to combat COVID-19.

For information regarding this press release, please send an email to the National Guard Bureau Media Operations desk at ng.ncr.ngb-arng.mesg.ngb-media-desk-owner@mail.mil.

National Guard COVID-19 Response Efforts and State PAO Contact Information:

State priorities continue to focus on supporting community-based testing sites, creating additional medical capacity, and providing logistical support to include transportation and distribution of medical supplies and food.

The Arizona National Guard recently flew 300 sets of masks and gowns to a medical facility in the Navajo Nation town of Kayenta. The shipment also included some 2,000 gloves for healthcare workers. Several dozen guardsmen are working on building an alternate care facility in that area.

California Air National Guardsmen from the Channel Islands are assisting with the construction and setup of an alternate care site at the Santa Clara Convention Center. The temporary facility will provide 250 beds for non-COVID patients.

Florida National Guard has mobilized 2,093 soldiers and airmen in a mobilized status supporting COVID-19 response efforts across the state:

  • FLNG supports the following community-based testing sites: Broward; Miami, Hard Rock Stadium; Miami-Dade, Marlins Park; Palm Beach County; and Orange County. An additional site is expected to be operational in Palm Beach County April 7.
  • To date, the FLNG has assisted in the testing of over 23,606 individuals for the COVID- 19 virus.
  • FLNG supports screening of individuals at seven airports: Jacksonville, Orlando, Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
  • FLNG support to the State Logistics Readiness Center remains at 24-hour operations.

The Maine National Guard is constructing shelters outside Togus Virginia Medical Center, in Augusta, to conduct health screening prior to entry. The MENG is also conducting warehouse operations for the Maine CDC and distributing respirators and medical supplies to civilian agencies.

New York:
The New York National Guard has 2,885 personnel on mission across the state. Six Joint Task Forces are operating on Long Island, New York City, the Hudson Valley, Capital Region, Syracuse and Buffalo to support state and local governments.

An additional Dual Status Command Task Force under the command of Brig. Gen. Michel Natali, the Assistant Adjutant General, Army, leads efforts to employ active and National Guard military resources in New York City.

The DSC is coordinating the expansion of the Jacob Javits Center FEMA field hospital to care for COVID 19 patients. The center expanded capacity to now accommodate some 2,500 beds and staff of the 531st and 9th Hospital Centers, both part of the 44th Medical Brigade, are providing care for patients at the site, providing relief for New York City hospitals. An additional 325 medical personnel from the Department of Defense arrive today for the staffing of the Javits expansion.

New York Guardsmen continue to manage the site as the unified command post for the multi- agency response at the Javits Center and are supporting logistical operations at the site.

The NYNG continues support at seven drive-thru testing sites located at: SUNY Stony Brook, Jones Beach State Park, Staten Island, and Glen Island State Park in Westchester County, the Anthony Wayne Service area in Rockland County, Lehman College and the Bay Plaza Mall in the Bronx. Soldiers and Airmen are collecting sample and providing general-purpose support at the testing locations, now exceeding 5,000 tests per day in total.

Two additional sites are expected to begin operations April 6 and the NYNG will assist in staffing those sites. One site will be at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. The second site will be established at the State University of New York at Albany campus. This is the first state- operated COVID 19 testing site in upstate New York.

Additionally, soldiers and airmen are continuing food packaging and distribution today in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan in New York City. Similar missions are expected to be conducted on Monday in Westchester County in New Rochelle and Albany County. Guardsmen have helped in the distribution of some 148,626 meals to New Yorkers.

New York soldiers and airmen are also conducting logistics missions in support of the state response, including warehousing and commodity distribution of medical supplies at sites in the Hudson Valley, the Albany area, and Mohawk Valley. Hand sanitizer warehousing and deliveries continue today across the lower Hudson Valley.

The New York National Guard continues to provide logistics support to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City. National Guard personnel are working with members of the Medical Examiner's Office to assist in the dignified removal of human remains when required.

New York National Guard also continues to provide support to the New York State Coronavirus Hotline by working call centers in Rotterdam, Schenectady and Brooklyn to offer updated information to the public.

Soldiers continue packaging COVID-19 test kits for the New York State Department of Health at the Wadsworth Laboratory in Albany. They have assembled 22,250 kits so far.

The Oregon National Guard is assisting the Department of Administrative Services with setting up 24-hour warehouse operations for receipt and distribution of all PPE received in the State. Additionally, the ORNG is supplying planners to the State Emergency Management Agency.

The Pennsylvania National Guard has approximately 850 personnel supporting COVID-19 operations.

Most recently the PNG delivered 125 special needs cots from Norristown State Hospital to the FEMA Field Hospital located at Temple University in north Philadelphia. The facility will be used as alternate care facility for patent care should hospitals in the region become overwhelmed treating patience amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The PNG is also continuing support to the Pittsburgh food bank and the Montgomery County Community Testing site.

West Virginia:
Currently, nearly 460 West Virginia National Guard personnel are serving the state through four lines of effort to include operationalizing of the event, stabilizing the population, providing logistical movement of critical supplies and conducting data analysis to combat the virus. That number will reach more than 500 on duty next week.

Six WVNG members are assisting Workforce West Virginia to increase capacity for the state to process unemployment claims. An additional nine personnel will begin work on April 6, with 15 later in the week.

Recently, the WVNG communications team, in conjunction with Marshall University and West Virginia University, tested network capabilities for telehealth initiatives in Wharton, where connectivity is sparse. An additional test will take place in Hundred April 6. This team is also assisting St. Francis Hospital with telecommunications expansion and wiring needs.

The WVNG Logistics team delivered seven ventilators to CAMC, Memorial, Ruby Memorial, Princeton, Camden-Clark, and Beckley Area Regional Hospital, as well as 10 powered, air- purifying respirators with filters to West Virginia University Hospital in Martinsburg. The team also delivered 275 gallons of hand sanitizer to senior service centers in Harrison, Kanawha, Raleigh, Cabell and Randolph counties.

WVNG members conducted nearly 30 training missions for retailers, food establishments, convenience stores and local first responders in proper cargo, box handling and personal protective equipment wear. Next week, this team is also planning for 50 mobile training sessions with healthcare providers and first responders for some of the areas in the state with higher numbers of positive cases, including Monongalia and surrounding counties.

Guard members supported food bank missions in Gassaway and Huntington, packing 1,889 meals for West Virginia’s most vulnerable populations and provided one refrigerated truck to distribute 4,500 meals to Putnam County.

Guard personnel continue working two drive through testing sites in Huntington and Grafton and will provide support in Lewis County starting Monday and Mingo County starting April 10.

Our National Guard members work and live in every community have a proven record of accomplishment supporting civilian authorities during and after homeland emergencies.