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National Guard response to COVID-19

20-046 | May 14, 2020

This morning, 47,000 Air and Army National Guard professionals were supporting the COVID-19 response at the direction of their governors.

The response is the largest use of the National Guard for a domestic operation since Hurricane Katrina. More than 51,000 Guard members responded to Katrina.

While Katrina response efforts were in a concentrated area along the Gulf Coast, COVID-19 response efforts have taken place in all 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia.

"We’re very proud of being an important piece of the Air Force and the Army, but what we’re doing now for this pandemic is uniquely and distinctly National Guard business," said Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau. “I couldn’t be prouder to see the great (Guard) men and women who leave their families, leave their jobs … and they put themselves at risk to make sure we can do this.”

Forty-four 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. National Guard members are uniquely qualified and ready to support civil authorities in the communities they live and work.

As states begin to reopen, National Guard priorities continue to focus on COVID-19 testing and screening as well as providing logistical support through warehousing and distribution of medical supplies and food.

It’s not the usual scene one expects in a U.S. Army maintenance shop.

While the air is filled with the scent of diesel and most soldiers are busy turning wrenches underneath military vehicles, operating forklifts, or repairing generators, one lone service member is hard at task operating a seemingly out of place piece of equipment – a sewing machine, tucked away in the back of the shop.

Scraps of fabric and thread litter the green table, and beneath the clatter of wrenches and heavy machinery, you can hear the faint thrum of the sewing machine.

Sgt. Edwin Rodriguez is a full-time welder for the California Army National Guard’s combined support maintenance shop in Long Beach. But today, his attention is focused on nimbly working a piece of black cloth through the needle of the sewing machine. https://www.nationalguard.mil/News/Article/2186609/cal-national-guard-welder-sews-face- masks-to-combat-covid-19/

Soldiers and Airmen from the Pennsylvania National Guard are supporting the Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center, providing medical, administrative and cleaning services.

The Pennsylvania Task Force West service members and other members from across the state answered the call within 24 hours and were fitted for personal protective equipment May 11. The medical support team consists of 12 medically-trained Guard members and 15 members who are there to assist in cleaning and related tasks.

Another 12 soldiers are helping inside the facility and one noncommissioned officer is assisting outside with administrative matters, bringing the total force to 40 Guard members.

“One of the most important National Guard missions is to support our own communities,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Carrelli, adjutant general of Pennsylvania. “Assisting and serving our fellow neighbors is a very personal effort as this is where we live. We are all in this together.” https://www.nationalguard.mil/News/Article/2186566/national-guard-supports-brighton-rehab- and-wellness-center/

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

  • 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;
  • Building, staffing, and outfitting alternate care facilities to alleviate stress on medical infrastructure;
  • 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 and processing;
  • 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 are focused on COVID-19 testing and screening as well as providing logistical support through warehousing 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 California National Guard is providing personnel and equipment to support test analysis at Tulare County Public Health Lab and Orange County Public Health Lab.

For more information on California National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Jonathan Shiroma at jonathan.m.shiroma.mil@mail.mil, or 916-854-3391.

The Florida National Guard has nearly 2,420 soldiers and airmen in a mobilized status.

The FLNG continues supporting community-based testing sites and mobile testing teams throughout Florida. To date, this effort has resulted in more than 200,390 tests completed.

Guardsmen are supporting Feed Tampa Bay in their efforts to distribute food to the local community, as well as assisting with planning, warehouse and distribution operations.

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

The Georgia National Guard has strategically deployed medical support teams to augment hospital medical staff, and is partnering with hospitals and health departments as part of the state’s COVID-19 response.

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.

The Guam National Guard is supporting the government’s efforts by disinfecting the Department of Labor and other agencies in Hagatna, as well as assisting the government’s reopening.

For more information on Guam National Guard activities, please contact the PAO Maj. Josephine Blas at josephinemarie.p.blas.mil@mail.mil, or 671-735-0409.

The Kansas National Guard is supporting five non-congregate shelters in support of county response. Additionally, they are providing testing and medical screening, population movement, and culinary support to Lansing Correctional facility.

For more information on Kansas National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Katie Horner at catherine.f.horner.nfg@mail.mil, 785-646-1192, or the Kansas National Guard Public Affairs Office at ng.ks.ksarng.list.staff-pao@mail.mil.

The Louisiana National Guard has partnered with Shell and the United Way to distribute 10,000 KN-95 masks in St. Charles Parish.

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 at ng.la.laarng.mbx.pao@mail.mil.

New York:
The New York National Guard has 3,535 personnel on mission, across six joint task forces statewide, to support state and local governments with logistics management and warehouse operations. They also provide medical staff at New York City hospitals and testing sites.

NYNG members continue to manage the unified command post at the Javits Convention Center for the multi-agency response. The Javits New York Medical Station is now in a cold status to respond to future needs in the city as necessary. 1,095 patients received care at Javits NY Medical Station.

  • The NYNG continues testing at five antibody testing sites, with more than 313 tests administered May 12. To date, 4,902 antibody tests have been administered.
  • NYNG is supporting 15 drive-through testing sites, providing administrative and logistical support, medical support at select sites and mask-fit testing services. Guardsmen conducted 4,485 tests May 12. To date, 235,967 tests have been conducted at these sites.
  • National Guard personnel continue packaging and distributing food today in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan in New York City, and in Yonkers. They provided 395,671 meals May 12. To date, soldiers and airmen have distributed nearly 8.8 million meals.
  • Similar food distribution missions are underway in Westchester County, where Guardsmen distributed 2,190 meals May 12, and have provided 113,292 meal packages since the start of the mission. In Albany County 3,967 meals have been provided to quarantined residents as of May 12.
  • Soldiers helping to process and ship goods at the regional food bank in Schenectady delivered 5,556 meals as of May 12.
  • Hand sanitizer delivery to local governments is ongoing. A total of 59,066 gallons of sanitizer have been distributed in the lower Hudson Valley since the start of the mission.
  • The National Guard continues to provide logistics support to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City where 200 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, and the Orange County Medical Examiner.
  • NYNG soldiers continue to man phones at two New York City call centers, including one for the New York City Division of Veterans Services. Soldiers also continue to provide administrative support at two New York City 911 call centers.
  • Soldiers and airmen continue packaging COVID-19 test kits for the New York State Department of Health at the Wadsworth Laboratory in Albany. They assembled 25,800 kits May 12 for distribution across the state. The team has built 691,630 testing kits 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.

Puerto Rico:
The Puerto Rico National Guard is screening passengers arriving at five airports.

For more information on Puerto Rico National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Paul Dahlen at paul.w.dahlen.mil@mail.mil, or 787-289-1441.

Rhode Island:
The Rhode Island National Guard is supporting Rhode Island Department of Health at Middletown Retirement Center.

For more information on Rhode Island National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Dennis Pineault at dennis.n.pineault.mil@mail.mil, or 401-680-3092.

The Utah National Guard is conducting sample testing in support of Utah United Public Health Lab in Taylorsville.

For more information on Utah National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. David Gibb at david.j.gibb2.mil@mail.mil, or 801-432-4407.

West Virginia:
More than 700 members of the West Virginia National Guard are on duty supporting the state’s COVID-19 response. To date, WVNG has completed 993 missions across the state.

Starting May 15 in Fairmont, Guardsmen will assist the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources in COVID-19 testing at assisted living facilities. Additionally, the Guard is working in conjunction with DHHR and county health departments to conduct COVID-19 testing in high-density populated areas May 16-17, including Raleigh, Mercer, Jefferson and Berkeley counties.

Guardsmen continue to provide PPE training for children’s home society facilities throughout the state, and will have visited all locations in the state by week’s end. This team also conducted six PPE training sessions May 13. To date, this team has trained 3,872 personnel across 720 businesses and 93 medical or long-term care facilities.

WVNG has conducted 447 COVID-19 tests for lane support and 3,001 tests as part of their overall response mission.

Guardsmen assisted with packing 1,206 boxed meals at the Mountaineer Food Bank and 326 family meals boxes at the Facing Hunger Food Bank in Clarksburg. Guardsmen delivered 3,900 meals to Wood County via refrigerated trailers May 13.

Task Force Sustainment delivered PPE to local emergency managers May 11.

West Virginia Guard personnel continue to assist with sanitization of first responder and public transport vehicles. They have sanitized 357 vehicles, including ambulances, police vehicles and public transport buses, in Huntington and Charleston.

WVNG medical personnel, augmenting the Department of Health and Human Resources’ regional epidemiology teams, supported 156 voluntary COVID-19 mapping engagements May 12. To date, the state’s seven regional epidemiology teams have conducted 6,555 voluntary COVID-19 mapping cases.

For more information on WVNG 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 at ng.wv.wvarng.mbx.public-affairs@mail.mil.

The Wisconsin National Guard is supporting test sites across the state with 14 teams. These teams have been collecting more than 4,000 samples per day.

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 at ngwi.pao@mail.mil.