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National Guard response to COVID-19

20-020 | April 8, 2020

As of this morning, nearly 28,400 Air and Army National Guard professionals are supporting The COVID-19 response at the direction of their governors.

To date, 21 states, three 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. “We’re the perfect people to do this mission. We know these people. There are no such thing as strangers to the National Guard. We’re from every community.”

It will take every American doing their part to effectively respond to this national crisis. Our long-standing state and federal partnerships help ensure a rapid and unified response.

Such is the case for medical professionals of the Massachusetts National Guard who serve the very communities where they live. They spent a week moving throughout Massachusetts administering tests for COVID-19.

To prepare, they spent a week training at Hanscom Air Force Base, learning how to wear the proper personal protective equipment and properly administer the test.

For example, the Colorado National Guard is helping the State Emergency Operations Center and the city and county of Denver shelter homeless people during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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;
  • Flying ventilators and other critical equipment to support response efforts in other states;
  • Conducting force health protection assessments to ensure our Guardsmen are taken care of;
  • Sewing and distributing masks for mission essential personnel;
  • 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

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 depth and breadth of knowledge and skills the National Guard brings to the COVID-19 fight is making a difference in the communities they serve; it is truly neighbors helping neighbors.

The Arkansas National Guard currently has 80 soldiers and airmen on state active duty performing a variety of missions, which include: supporting the Arkansas Department of Health with general call center manning, physician's call center manning, medical planning and liaison assistance, logistics and information analysts for planning and liaison assistance, medic support to University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (hospital) drive-through testing center – screening and testing COVID-19 patients, and warehousing assistance for the handling and distribution of personal protective equipment and medical supplies.

For more information on Arkansas National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Brian Mason at brian.l.mason2.mil@mail.mil, (501) 212-5020, or the Arkansas National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ng.ar.ararng.mbx.daily-guard@mail.mil.

Currently, more than 250 Colorado National Guard members have been mobilized and are on state active duty to help the State Emergency Operations Center, as well as city and county of Denver to shelter people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The CONG will also provide planners to support local emergency operation centers in other Colorado communities that the state designates.

Approximately 30 soldiers and airmen are also serving in their full-time roles supporting the CONG operation from Joint Force Headquarters in Centennial.

For more information on Colorado National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Elena O'Bryan at elena.k.obryan.civ@mail.mil, (720) 250-1051, or the Colorado National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ng.co.coarng.list.militarysupport@mail.mil.

The Connecticut National Guard is expanding hospital capacity across the state, focusing on creating space for non-COVID patients to be seen for emergency room visits.

For more information on Connecticut National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Capt. Dave Pytlik at david.c.pytlik.mil@mail.mil, or (860) 524-4857.

The Georgia National Guard is deploying infection control teams to nursing homes, assisting staff with cleaning facilities and training on proper cleaning methods to prevent the spread of disease.

For more information on Georgia National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Patrick Watson at ray.p.watson.mil.mil@mail.mil, or (678) 569-3957.

There are more than 200 Iowa National Guard soldiers and airmen on duty directly supporting the state’s COVID-19 response efforts.

Guardsmen are providing facilities and personnel to support six Regional Medical Coordination Centers across the state as part of an Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa Health Care Coalition initiative to pool resources and aid in the sharing of critical information across multiple agencies to combat the spread of COVID-19.

These coordination centers are located at Iowa National Guard armories in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Camp Dodge, Mason City, Council Bluffs and Sioux City.

Additionally, the Guard has established an operations center at its Joint Forces Headquarters in Johnston, along with task force headquarters at Camp Dodge, Iowa City and Sioux City to provide planning, coordination, communication, command and control of military forces activated in support of local, state and federal partners supporting regional response efforts across Iowa.

Every day, Iowa National Guard transportation units are on the road delivering medical PPE to county emergency management facilities across the state. With the assistance of the Iowa Departments of Transportation and Public Safety, all 99 counties have received shipments of PPE since these vital missions began March 24.

Additionally, the Iowa National Guard is providing medical screening tents to hospitals and clinics in Polk, Pottawattamie, Mahaska and Clarke counties.

For more information on Iowa National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Col. Michael Wunn at michael.a.wunn.mil@mail.mil, or (515) 252-4582.

The Louisiana National Guard is managing multiple food banks across the state, distributing more than 134,000 pounds of food at five locations.

For more information on Louisiana National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Col. Ed Bush at edward.m.bush.mil@mail.mil, (318) 290-5027, or the Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ng.la.laarng.mbx.pao@mail.mil.

More than 1,500 members of the Maryland National Guard continue to combat the spread of COVID-19. The MDNG also has nearly 700 additional Guardsmen in an enhanced readiness status; capable of coming on-duty within a matter of hours if needed.

About 30 health specialists from the MDNG will support medical treatment of suspected COVID-19 patients at nursing homes across the state.

Guard members are supporting food distribution missions throughout Baltimore County; continue to support transportation and logistics needs for the Baltimore Convention Center alternate care facility; and continue to work closely with the Maryland Department of Transportation to provide essential information at Amtrak stations in central Maryland.

Additionally, the MDNG is assisting in protecting virtual communities through the development of a joint task force composed of Guardsmen and their cyber partners in the Maryland Defense Force and the Maryland Department of Information Technology.

The MDNG is continuing to support residents in need of screening at FedEx Field, vehicle emissions centers, and the state house. Additionally the MDNG continues to process and distribute countless pieces of medical equipment and PPE from the Strategic National Stockpile.

For more information on Maryland National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Kurt Rauschenberg at kurt.m.rauschenberg.mil@mail.mil, (410) 576-617927, or the Maryland National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ng.md.mdarng.list.pao@mail.mil.

New Hampshire:
The New Hampshire National Guard is supporting 14 alternate care sites with approximately 1,700 beds.

For more information on New Hampshire National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Gregory Heilshorn at gregory.d.heilshorn.mil@mail.mil, or (603) 225-1340.

New York:
Currently, the New York National Guard has 3,025 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.

Pararescue airmen, who are trained as emergency medical technicians, from the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing, are also assisting in city hospitals.

Guardsmen continue to manage the Javits site as the unified command post for the multi-agency response. Additionally, the NYNG is supporting the newly-established alternate care facility at the South Beach Psychiatric Center on Staten Island. The facility opened April 7.

The NYNG continues to support nine drive-thru testing sites, at more than 6,629 tests April 7. Soldiers and airmen are collecting samples and providing general-purpose support at the testing locations.

National Guard personnel continue food packaging and distribution today in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan in New York City. Similar missions continue in Westchester County in New Rochelle and Albany County.

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.

Airmen of the 105th Airlift Wing at Stewart Air National Guard Base outside Newburgh, N.Y., received 200 ventilators from the federal stockpile April 7. They were flown to New York by the California Air National Guard. The shipment will be split between New York and New Jersey, with each state getting 100.

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.

Additionally, the NYNG continues to provide support to the New York State Coronavirus Hotline where 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 assemble about 11,000 kits per day for distribution across the state.

For more information on New York National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Col. Richard Goldenberg at richard.l.goldenberg.mil@mail.mil, or (518) 786-6150.

More than 2,400 Wisconsin National Guard soldiers and airmen from the mobilized to state active duty to serve as poll workers at polling stations across the state during Wisconsin’s April 7 election.

The Guard members, dressed in civilian attire, served at polls in 71 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties – all except Florence County – in support of the Wisconsin Elections Commission and clerks due to a critical shortage of poll workers resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In accordance with state elections laws, most of the National Guard members served as poll workers in the counties in which they reside. They fulfilled the same roles and duties that a traditional civilian poll worker fulfills, and in many cases served alongside fellow civilian poll workers in communities across the state.

The Wisconsin National Guard’s mission to serve as poll workers in an election may mark the first time in the nation’s history that the National Guard mobilized to staff polling sites during an emergency. The mission to serve as poll workers continues through April 8 when troops will assist with polling station cleanup and processing ballots, if needed, before being released from state active duty. Meanwhile, the WING simultaneously continues to support other missions across Wisconsin.

Wisconsin National Guard troops are currently helping staff two state-run voluntary self- isolation facilities in Milwaukee and Madison and another Milwaukee-run facility with medics providing medical monitoring as well as administrative support. Approximately 12 personnel are staffing each state-run facility, while nearly 30 are assisting at the Milwaukee-run facility.

WING soldiers and airmen are also conducting warehousing operations in support of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services where they are receiving PPE shipments at warehouses, repackaging it, and then distributing it to sites that need PPE.

For more information on Wisconsin National Guard activities, please contact the WING state PAO Maj. Brian J. Faltinson at brian.j.faltinson.mil@mail.mil, (608) 242-3059, or the Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ngwi.pao@mail.mil.