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National Guard response to COVID-19

20-047 | May 15, 2020

This morning, 31,600 Air and Army National Guard professionals were supporting the COVID-19 response at the direction of their governors.

Forty states, three territories and the District of Columbia have been approved federal funds under Title 32 status, providing governors with greater flexibility and ensuring National Guard troops remain in the fight longer.

“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,” said Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau.

Guard members supporting COVID-19 continue to focus on providing clinical support at medical facilities; supporting community- based testing sites; and packaging, transporting and distributing critically needed medical supplies and food.

“We are neighbors helping neighbors. We live in the communities we serve,” Lengyel said. The Kentucky National Guard exemplified that spirit Monday as they began supporting their state’s first drive-through COVID-19 testing site.

“We are citizens when we’re not in the uniform,” said 1st Lt. Corey Oney, Kentucky Army National Guard. “People should know that we’re Kentuckians for Kentuckians.”

“This will be a success as long as we are helping people,” Oney said. “People are scared right now. We can help them gain comfort by confirming that they don’t have [COVID-19]. If we can confirm that they do have it then they can get the help they need. There’s no more wondering.”

The Maryland National Guard is also dedicated to protecting the most vulnerable in their communities. The MDNG is working with the state health department to help safeguard people at nursing homes across the state. The state is deploying testing and care teams, which the National Guard may augment.

“The residents of these facilities are at high risk,” said Col. Eric Allely, the Maryland National Guard state surgeon. “We need to help identify and rapidly fill any resource gaps that the facilities may have due to the current pandemic with a focus on elevating the level of medical care typically available in these facilities.”

“In addition to protecting the residents of these facilities, our efforts help decompress the patient load in emergency rooms and hospitals, opening beds for the growing number of patients in need of those resources,” Allely said.

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;
  • Working with industry and civilian partners to satisfy demand for personal protective equipment used by essential staff and first responders;
  • Manufacturing, sewing and distributing masks and other personal protective equipment for mission essential personnel;
  • Conducting force health protection assessments to ensure our Guardsmen are cared for;
  • Placing full-time, 24-hour staff at state Emergency Operations Centers to synchronize National Guard efforts with local and state mission partners to help facilitate a unified and rapid response;
  • Providing mortuary affairs assistance as needed. Guard members are conducting this important mission with respect and dignity;
  • Supporting local law enforcement, freeing police officers to perform their duties in the communities they serve;
  • Conducting traffic control support and helping manage foot traffic in public spaces and community shelters;
  • Building and outfitting alternate care facilities to alleviate stress on medical infrastructure;
  • Providing vital Personal Protective Equipment training and delivery to civilian first responders;
  • Delivering and distributing food in hard-hit communities and supporting food banks;
  • Manning call centers with a knowledgeable and calming voice;
  • Performing sample collection and delivery to medical personnel;
  • Providing support and symptoms screening to testing facilities and passenger terminals.

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 loading and delivering pallets of ventilators to states heavily impacted by COVID-19. The state loaned 500 ventilators for treatment of COVID-19 patients in New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Nevada.

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 Connecticut National Guard assisted the Connecticut Department of Public Health in distributing masks, gloves, and face shields to local residential care homes, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities.

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 reducing infection risks to 199 nursing homes statewide by conducting infection control measures.

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.

Currently, more than 1,500 members of the Maryland National Guard continue supporting the states effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, with nearly 700 additional soldiers and airmen in an enhanced readiness status, capable of coming on-duty within a matter of hours, if needed.

Health and medical specialists from the MDNG’s medical detachment, 224th and 104th Area Support Medical companies have visited nearly a dozen nursing facilitates. Nearly 40 Guardsmen are supporting the Maryland Department of Health in the state’s COVID-19 mitigation and suppression efforts with multi-discipline assessment teams to help safeguard the citizens at nursing homes and other facilities across the state.

Guardsmen are supporting food distribution missions throughout Baltimore County, Baltimore City, and on the Eastern Shore.

Cyber specialists from the Maryland National Guard, Defense Force, and Department of Information Technology are assisting in the protection of virtual communities providing critical information related to COVID-19. The joint task force is evaluating Maryland government websites to ensure they are functioning properly and assure the accuracy of information.

The Maryland National Guard is continuing to support Marylanders in need of screening at FedEx Field, Pimlico Race Course, vehicle emissions centers, and the state house.

Maryland Air National Guard continues to process and distribute countless pieces of medical equipment and personal protective equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile. To date, these airmen have processed more than one million essential pieces of medical supply and PPE.

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.

About 700 additional Nevada National Guard soldiers and airmen will enter the fight against COVID-19 this week, bringing the total number of Nevada National Guardsmen, on military orders to support the state’s COVID-19 response, to about 800, the largest state activation in history.

About 100 Guardsmen have been conducting donation management and supply distribution operations. However, as these additional soldiers and airmen mobilize, the missions will include providing medical support, food bank and warehouse logistics, transportation of supplies, and establishment of alternate care facilities.

The majority of Nevada Guardsmen will operate in Las Vegas, where most of the Silver State’s confirmed cases and COVID-19-related deaths have occurred.

Guard medical professionals, already working the COVID-19 response in their civilian professions, will not be asked to report and will remain working their critically important full- time jobs.

For information on Nevada National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Mickey Kirschenbaum at mikol.kirschenbaum.mil@mail.mil, or 775-287-5592.

New York:
The New York National Guard has 3,570 personnel on mission across the state with six joint task forces to manage logistics, warehouse operations, medical staff at the Javits Center and New York City hospitals, and testing sites. To date, more than 720 patients have received care at the Javits New York Medical Station.

  • New York Air National Guard pararescue airmen, from New York’s 106th Rescue Wing, who are trained as emergency medical technicians are also assisting in city hospitals.
  • The NYNG is supporting the alternate care facility at the South Beach Psychiatric Center on Staten Island.
  • NYNG supports 10 drive-thru testing sites, supporting more than 5,000 test appointments April 14. The sites have seen more than 100,000 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 93,504 meals April 14. To date, soldiers have distributed 906,534 meals.
  • Similar missions continuing in Westchester County provided 51,941 meal packages andAlbany County where 931 meals have been delivered to quarantined residents.
  • 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.
  • National Guard logisticians delivered 10 pallets of medical gowns April 13 to hospitals in Syracuse and Rochester and distributed 16 pallets of other medical supplies to Broome County and Orange County.
  • Hand sanitizer delivery resumes for local government offices in Pomona. The National Guard delivered more than 33,148 gallons of hand sanitizer 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 recovery and transport of human remains when required. The support mission also includes assistance to the Westchester County Medical Examiner.
  • 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 9,100 kits April 13 for distribution across the state, providing more than 118,700 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.

To date, the Texas National Guard has helped manufacture more than two million PPE items throughout the state. Additionally, the TXNG has helped test 5,675 people at medical testing sites, and has distributed more than 2,600 commodities of medical supplies, food, and cleaning products.

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.

The Washington National Guard has distributed 1.6 million pounds of food to those in need.

For more information on Washington National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Joseph Siemandel at joseph.f.siemandel.mil@mail.mil, or 253-512-8005.

West Virginia:
The West Virginia National Guard provided training on proper PPE, sanitizing and decontamination methods and best practices for the prevention of COVID-19 spread to staff at the Barboursville Veterans home. Guardsmen will make additional visits to the facility to train all support staff and facilitate implementation of plans and procedures for how to deal with COVID-19 positive cases, if any were to arrive.

Currently, 600 members of the WVNG are on duty in support of the state’s COVID-19 response and have conducted 370 missions to date.

Members of the WVNG, Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority, Yeager Airport, Kanawha County Emergency Management, Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office and JanCare Ambulance tested decontamination and sanitization methods for first responder vehicles at Executive Air in Charleston. The goal is to establish a decontamination and sanitization lane for ambulances, police cars, fire and other emergency services vehicles that have transported known or potential COVID-19 patients, ultimately providing protection for first responders and their families.

The WVNG has added nearly 20 more personnel to assist in providing training, rapid COVID-19 testing response and COVID-19 lane support for drive-through testing in Martinsburg. Additionally, the Guard will provide the first of more than 50 mobile training team engagements in some of West Virginia’s most active areas, including Monongalia County and surrounding locations. Training of more than 20 retail establishments occurred April 14, as Guardsmen provided instruction on proper cargo, box handling and PPE wear. To date, this team has taught more than 1,400 personnel from 427 stores, while also assisting with COVID-19 drive- through testing lanes at seven locations across the Mountain State.

Specific facility best practices and PPE training was also conducted at Constellium Rolled Products in Ravenswood, and members provided training to five of the seven largest hospitals in the state.

WVNG’s mission of supporting the most vulnerable populations in the state continues to make an impact as Guardsmen delivered more than 5,000 meals through our refrigerated trucks to Boone, Tyler, Webster and Wirt Counties April 14. In addition, service members packed 184 one-day family boxes at the Mountaineer Food Bank.

Task Force Sustainment, the team dedicated to moving critical PPE supplies and running supply chain logistics for COVID-19 response, is continuing to refine PPE distribution processes with our agency partners at the Department of Health and Human Resources and Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. April 13, TF-Sustainment received 96,000 surgical masks, 25,200 face shields, and 200 gallons of hand sanitizer.

WVNG data analysts working with DHHR’s regional epidemiology teams were able to support 194 contact tracing engagements to two expedited specimen transfers to track the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

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.