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National Guard response to COVID-19

20-018 | April 6, 2020

As of Sunday morning, nearly 22,000 Air and Army National Guard professionals began their day actively supporting the COVID-19 crisis response at the direction of their governors.

This morning, 21 states, two territories and the District of Columbia have been approved for use of federal funds for state missions under Title 32, with another 20 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.

“This response isn't just about delivering food or supporting COVID test centers. It's about protecting our children, parents and grandparents. Our nation is looking to the National Guard to help and we won’t let them down," 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 be 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.

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.

The Arkansas National Guard has more than 90 soldiers and airmen on state active duty, performing more than 13 different missions in support of the Arkansas Department of Health, in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Missions include: medical prescreening and testing at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences hospital; call center operations at ADH; physicians-specific call center at ADH; liaison operations and medical planning and information analysis to support logistics planning at both ADH and Arkansas Division of Emergency Management; Strategic National Stockpile distribution logistics assistance; and engineer team support to ADH and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for assessments and construction of alternate care facilities.

California Air National Guardsmen 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.

The Florida National Guard currently has 2,320 in a mobilized status, and will finalize the staging of the 550 soldiers to serve as a ready unit should the state require general support to its humanitarian assistance efforts.

Florida's COVID-19 response continues through operational support of community-based testing sites, augmentation to airport screening measures, statewide logistics support, coordination, planning and operational mission sets. To date, the FLNG has assisted in the testing of more 24,480 individuals for the COVID-19 virus.

The FLNG supports the following community-based testing sites: Broward; Miami, Hard Rock Stadium; Orange County; Miami-Dade, Marlins Park; and Palm Beach County. Two additional sites are expected to be operational this week: Miami-Dade at Amelia Earhart Park starting April 6, and a second CBTS in Palm Beach beginning April 7.

Additionally, FLNG supports the screening of individuals at seven airports throughout the state.

Medical and logistical planners from the FLNG are actively assessing PPE requirements to minimize the risk while reducing daily expenditures in order to extend FLNG mission support.

The FLNG’s support to the State Logistics Readiness Center remains at 24-hour operations.

On April 3 the Incident Commander for the COVID-19 response, and Adjutant General of the Hawaii National Guard, Maj. Gen. Kenneth S. Hara, partially activated the Hawaii National Guard Joint Task Force and four units of the Hawaii Army National Guard and then named Brig. Gen. Moses Kaoiwi Jr. as its Commander. More than 340 Guardsmen are expected to be activated to assist the county and state with civil support missions.

Among those missions, HING soldiers and airmen will be supporting the Hawaii Department of Transportation with the medical screening of incoming and departing passengers as well as airline crew at five Hawaii airports: Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and Hilo International Airport starting April 6, with support for Kahului Airport, Lihue Airport, and the Ellison Onizuka International Airport at Keahole beginning soon.

The Guardsmen will be located at the passenger arrival gates and TSA security checkpoints to assist HDOT staff with medical screening that has been put in place during the COVID-19 crisis. Arriving passengers from domestic and international destinations, as well as departing interisland passengers will have their temperature taken to determine if an additional medical screening is necessary.

The Illinois National Guard is establishing mobile testing sites in Chicago and Bloomington, conducting assessments for alternate care facilities and providing medical support to one Illinois Department of Corrections facility.

Currently, nearly 460 Michigan National Guard soldiers and airmen are actively supporting the state's COVID-19 response. An additional 6,600 MING service members are ready to assist.

Across nine counties, members of the National Guard are supporting requests from our local communities and state agencies. Response missions include food distribution, Strategic National Stockpile support, screening operations, reception and staging, supply and logistics management, State Emergency Operations Center staff augmentation, and alternate care facility planning.

Joint Task Force – Michigan (JTF-MI) includes more than 100 National Guard members to coordinate National Guard response efforts across the state.

The Montana National Guard is conducting temperature screenings at 11 airports and train stations across the state and also assisting with planning at the State Emergency Management Agency.

New York:
The New York National Guard has 2,875 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.

A 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 Dual Status Command 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. A current expansion plan is expected to provide for a new total of 4,200 patient beds.

An additional 325 medical personnel from the Department of Defense arrived April 5 for staffing the Javits expansion and augmenting local New York City hospital staff.

Members of the NYNG 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 New York National Guard continues support at seven drive-thru testing sites. Sites are 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 with National Guard assistance begin operations today. One at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, and the second at SUNY at Albany campus.

National Guard personnel continue food packaging and distribution in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan in New York City. Similar missions continue in Westchester County in New Rochelle and Albany County. NYNG members have helped in the distribution of 337,358 meals in New York City alone, with thousands more in Westchester and Albany counties.

New York soldiers and airmen are also conducting logistics missions, including warehousing and commodity distribution of medical supplies at sites in the Hudson Valley, the Albany area, and Mohawk Valley. These missions have included delivery of ventilators from New York State Department of Health stockpiles to hospitals in need.

Hand sanitizer warehousing and deliveries continue today across the lower Hudson Valley. Nearly 30,000 gallons of hand sanitizer has been delivered by National Guard personnel to local governments.

The NYNG 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 are speaking with more than 5,000 callers on average a day.

Soldiers continue packaging COVID-19 test kits for the New York State Department of Health at the Wadsworth Laboratory in Albany. They assembled 23,000 kits distribution across the state.

Currently the Wisconsin National Guard has approximately 350 members mobilized to state active duty, including soldiers and airmen from the Whitewater-based 457th Chemical Company; the Waukesha-based 135th Medical Company; and the 115th Fighter Wing in Madison.

The WING recently dispatched a 30-member team to the Sunny Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Sheboygan to establish a mobile testing site and perform COVID-19 specimen collection. The soldiers and airmen tested facility staff and residents in support of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Sheboygan County Division of Public Health.

Additionally, the WING established drive-thru specimen collection for facility staff before moving inside to collect samples from residents in support of the Sheboygan County Division of Public Health.

The WING is also actively supporting the Wisconsin Elections Commission with the state’s April 7 election.

Wisconsin troops are conducting warehousing operations in support of Wisconsin DHS where they are receiving personal protective equipment shipments at warehouses, repackaging it, and then distributing it to sites that need PPE.