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National Guard response to COVID-19

20-029 | April 20, 2020

This morning, 36,750 Air and Army National Guard professionals were supporting the COVID-19 response at the direction of their governors.

Thirty-eight states, three territories and the District of Columbia have been approved for use of federal funds for state missions under Title 32, providing governors with greater flexibility and ensuring National Guard troops remain in the fight longer.

“When bad things happen in their neighborhoods, Guardsmen go running … to bring assistance and comfort to Americans – it’s very satisfying to be part of that community,” said Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau. “We’re very lucky as a nation to have men and women who are willing to serve, not just in the National Guard, but in all of the first responder networks.”

Guard members are supporting COVID-19 testing sites, constructing and staffing alternate care facilities, assisting state agencies in testing analysis, medical care, communication capacities and delivering needed supplies and equipment.

The Wisconsin National Guard has fulfilled a variety of roles across the state since its response to the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Some 20 citizen-soldiers are assisting the Wisconsin Department of Health Services at a state warehouse receiving personal protective equipment shipments from around the state, repackaging them, and redistributing them to areas in need.

Six medics helped at a senior living facility in Grafton for three days after a COVID-19 outbreak resulted in a temporary staff shortage.

The Pennsylvania National Guard is currently assisting in two homes, the Broomall Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and the Southeastern Veterans Center to assist in current staffing shortages. The group, a mix of military nurses and medics, are assisting the facilities with providing routine care to non-acute patients.

“It’s something that we train for all the time, we’re ready, we have the equipment and the experience and I’m pretty sure that is why we were tasked to do this mission,” said Maj. Thomas Wagner, doctor of nursing practice, Detachment 1, 193rd Special Operations Wing. “I’m real appreciative to the Air Force for allowing us to be here and my civilian workplace.”
https://www.pa.ng.mil/Site-Management/News-Article-View/Article/2155477/pa-national- guard-supports-broomall-nursing-center/

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

  • Building and outfitting alternate care facilities to alleviate stress on medical infrastructure;
  • Augmenting medical staff at hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities to protect our most vulnerable populations;
  • Supporting warehouse operations and logistics efforts to help deliver and distribute life- saving medical equipment and critical supplies;
  • Delivering and distributing food in hard-hit communities and supporting food banks;
  • Working with industry and civilian partners to satisfy demand for personal protective equipment used by essential staff and first responders;
  • Providing mortuary affairs assistance as needed. Guard members are conducting this important mission with respect and dignity;
  • Manufacturing, sewing and distributing masks and other personal protective equipment for mission essential personnel;
  • 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;
  • Providing time saving support to local law enforcement, freeing officers to perform their duty in the communities they serve;
  • Conducting traffic control support and helping manage foot traffic in public spaces and community shelters;
  • Manning call centers to be a knowledgeable and calming voice;
  • Providing vital Personal Protective Equipment training and delivery to civilian first responders;
  • Conducting force health protection assessments to ensure our Guardsmen are cared for;
  • Performing mobile testing and sample delivery;
  • Providing support and symptoms screening to testing facilities and passenger terminals.
  • Disinfecting facilities crucial to the bottom line mission of saving lives;

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. Guard units frequently train side-by-side with state and local emergency responders, making them well-suited for domestic operations.

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.

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 CBTS, creating additional medical capacity, and providing logistical support to include transportation and distribution of PPE, 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 has more than 75 soldiers and airmen on state active duty supporting the Arkansas Department of Health, as well as other state and federal partners, in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

Missions include: medical screening and testing at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences drive-through and mobile testing facilities; medical and logistical planning assistance for the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management; handling and distribution assistance for the packaging and delivery of PPE and medical supplies; and manning both general and physician call centers at the Arkansas Department of Health.

For more information on Arkansas National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. 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.

The Florida National Guard has more than 2,315 soldiers and airmen in a mobilized status.

The FLNG continues supporting 10 CBTS, and mobile testing teams supporting special populations at long-term care facilities throughout Florida. To date, the FLNG has assisted in the testing of more than 55,620 individuals.

For more information on Florida National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. M. Caitlin Brown at mary.c.brown26.mil@mail.mil, or 904-823-0164.

More than 40 Illinois National Guard Airmen will provide health screenings at two Illinois Department of Human Services developmental centers, one in Kankakee and one in Park Forest. More than 20 airmen, including two medical technicians, from the 126th Air Refueling Wing, based at Scott Air Force Base, have been activated as temperature checkpoint teams to augment Illinois Department of Human Services staff at the Shapiro Developmental Center in Kankakee.

Additionally, More than 20 Airmen, including two medical technicians, from the 183rd Wing, based in Springfield, have been activated as temperature checkpoint teams to augment Illinois Department of Human Services staff at the Ludeman Developmental Center in Park Forest.

Each checkpoint will include one person to take temperatures and one person to document temperatures and responses to the Illinois Department of Public Health screening questions per checkpoint. This enable additional staff to care for patients. Staff members will have temperatures taken every four hours daily.

The facilities will provide the teams’ personnel with personal protection equipment, touchless thermometers and required training.

For more information on Illinois National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Brad Leighton at bradford.e.leighton.mil@mail.mil, 217-761-3539, or the Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ng.il.ilarng.list.staff-pao@mail.mil.

The Maine National Guard is providing rapid response to public health agencies and conducting response efforts in 16 counties.

For more information on Maine National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Carl Lamb at carl.j.lamb4.mi@mail.mil, or 207-430-5759.

Currently 785 Michigan National Guard soldiers and airmen are actively supporting the state's COVID-19 response, with an additional 6,600 service members ready to assist. Across 10 counties, members of the National Guard are supporting requests from local communities and state agencies. Response missions include food distribution, screening operations, reception and staging, supply and logistics management, state Emergency Operations Center staff augmentation, and alternate care facility support.

Joint Task Force – Michigan includes more than 120 Guardsmen to coordinate National Guard response efforts across the state.

For more information on Michigan National Guard activities, please contact Capt. Andrew Layton, deputy PAO, at andrew.b.layton.mil@mail.mil, or 517-481-7735.

New York:
The New York National Guard has more than 3,615 personnel on mission across the state, with six joint task forces to support state and local governments with logistics management, warehouse operations, as well as medical staff at Javits Center and New York City hospitals, and testing sites.

New York National Guard members continue to manage the Javits site as the unified command post for the multi-agency response. To date, more than 1,005 patients have received care at the Javits NY Medical Station.

  • New York Air National Guard Pararescue Airmen, who are trained as emergency medical technicians, from New York’s 106th Rescue Wing, are also assisting in city hospitals.
  • The NYNG is supporting the alternate care facility at the South Beach Psychiatric Center on Staten Island. Additional forces are providing support at three other potential alternate care sites on Long Island or Westchester.
  • NYNG continues to support 10 drive-thru testing sites, supporting more than 5,000 test appointments April 15. The sites have seen more than 105,000 people since mid-March, and are located at: SUNY Stony Brook; Jones Beach State Park; Staten Island; Glen Island State Park in Westchester County; Anthony Wayne Service area in Rockland County; Lehman College and the Bay Plaza Mall in the Bronx; Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, Flatbush in Brooklyn; and the SUNY Albany campus in Albany. Soldiers and airmen are collecting samples and providing general-purpose support at the testing locations.
  • National Guard personnel continue food packaging and distribution in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan in New York City, providing more than 111,120 meals April 18. To date, soldiers have distributed more than 1.5 million meals.
  • Similar missions resume today in Westchester County, where Guardsmen provided 68,890 meal packages and Albany County where 1,406 meals have been delivered to quarantined residents as of April 17.
  • A new food distribution mission begins April 20 in Schenectady County, with scheduled missions to begin later this week in Albany, Montgomery, and Chenango counties.
  • New York soldiers and airmen are also conducting logistics missions, including warehousing and commodity distribution of medical supplies at six sites in the Hudson Valley, the Albany area, and Mohawk Valley.
  • More than 100 pallets of medical supplies, including PPE, were delivered to seven sites. April 18, including seven pallets to the Staten Island alternate care site.
  • Hand sanitizer delivery continues to three locations today, having provided 907 gallons April 18 to six locations in the lower Hudson Valley and a total of nearly 36,340 gallons to local governments.
  • The 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. The support mission also includes assistance to the Westchester County Medical Examiner.
  • NYNG members concluded a mission to support the New York State Coronavirus Hotline. Soldiers spoke with an average of 3,300 callers each day and have provided support to more than 185,880 callers since the mission began. Soldiers will continue to man phones at two New York City call centers.
  • Soldiers continue packaging COVID-19 test kits for the New York State Department of Health at the Wadsworth Laboratory in Albany. They assembled more than 21,000 kits April 18 for distribution across the state, providing more than 212,000 since starting the mission.

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 518-786-4581.

The Pennsylvania National Guard is sending military nurses and medics to a long-term care facility in Delaware to provide non-acute care to residents.

For more information on Pennsylvania National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Keith Hickox at keith.w.hickox.mil@mail.mil, 717-861-6254, or the Pennsylvania National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ra-mvpublicaffairs@pa.gov.

To date, the Texas National Guard has helped manufacture and distribute 4.2 million items of PPE throughout the state. Additionally, TXNG soldiers and airmen are in the process of setting up CBTS.

For more information on Texas National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Laura Cross at laura.s.cross2.mil@mail.mil, 512-782-6045, or the Texas National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ng.tx.txarng.mbx.pao@mail.mil.

West Virginia:
Since beginning operations in support of the state’s COVID-19 response, the WVNG has completed 465 missions. Currently, more than 645 members of the WVNG are on duty serving the citizens of the State of West Virginia.

In conjunction with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health, the WVNG is preparing to conduct testing at all nursing home facilities in the state.

April 20, National Guard members will begin testing at the Barboursville and Clarksburg veterans’ homes, which consists of approximately 540 patients and staff.

The WVNG anticipates receiving 9,000 COVID-19 test kits from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the State Public Health Lab. Additionally, Guardsmen continue to receive critical PPE, and are working with county emergency managers to distribute supplies to all 55 counties in the state.

In addition, WVNG is providing lane assistance as well trainings retail outlets on proper cargo, box handling and PPE wear at locations across the state. To date, this team has provided training to nearly 590 stores and more than 2,385 personnel.

WVNG personnel continue supporting the Workforce West Virginia mission, processing unemployment claims and assisting the agency in implementation of new software to increase capabilities.

Last week, National Guard data analysts working with DHHR’s regional epidemiology teams were able to support 111 contact tracing engagements and four expedited specimen transfers to track the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia. To date, the seven Epidemiology teams have conducted more than 2,895 contract tracings.

For more information on West Virginia National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Capt. Holli Nelson at holli.r.nelson.mil@mail.mil, 304-561-6762, or the West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office email at ng.wv.wvarng.mbx.public-affairs@mail.mil.

Wisconsin: The Wisconsin National Guard organized a mobile testing facility over the weekend at the Milwaukee County House of Correction. Guard members are testing 950 inmates and staff for COVID-19.

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.