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National Guard response to COVID-19

20-048 | May 18, 2020

This morning, 46,000 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

“Most of people working here have never worked in a food bank before. Most of the Guard members around the country have never tested people for the COVID virus. It shows the adaptability of the National Guard; whatever the task might be,” said Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau.

Yellow traffic cones are placed on a street adjacent to the Napa Storehouse as soldiers with the California Army National Guard guide vehicles to pop-up tents covering boxes and bags of food.

As the community’s need for grocery items increases tenfold, food pantries are adapting to meet demand.

“The need for these services has increased dramatically,” said Sgt. Gregg Hierholzer, a motor transport operator with the California National Guard’s 1113th Transportation Company, as he packs and distributes food. “Everyone is in the same boat. Even people who felt like they had enough money before are finding themselves falling on hard times.”

Hierholzer is part of a group of CANG soldiers working in Napa to assist civilian volunteers with food distribution to area residents.

North Carolina National Guard members have distributed 432,000 gloves, 44,000 face shields, 45,000 shoe covers, 88,800 procedural masks, and 2800 bottles of hand sanitizer split between two sites that support 112 facilities.

Phil Leonard, with Louisburg Health Care and Rehab, was on-site to collect supplies for his employer and said that their stockpile didn’t last very long with everyone needing protective equipment every day.

“I think it’s great that the North Carolina National Guard is out here doing this,” Leonard said. “There is a workforce shortage right now throughout the healthcare industry. It’s good to see the North Carolina National Guard activated at home, helping in this local community situation when we need to help so badly.”

1st Lt. Dillon Bobbitt, commander of the 1450th Transportation Company, said he and the soldiers he is working alongside are happy to show the communities in North Carolina that the Guard is here to protect and serve in any way they can.

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 PPE used by essential staff and first responders;
  • Providing mortuary affairs assistance as needed, Guardsmen conduct 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 PPE 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 execute an effective response;
  • Providing timesaving 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 PPE training and delivery to civilian first responders;
  • Conducting force health protection assessments to ensure our Guardsmen are cared for;
  • Performing mobile testing, 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 supporting four shelters, supporting 19 food banks and three food pantries and have distributed more than 28.4 million pounds of food to date. Additionally, Guardsmen have packed more than 2.4 million masks and 568,500 test kits; distributed more than 750 ventilators and are providing a medical support team to support border hospitals.

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 Delaware National Guard is supporting the Food Bank of Delaware with a drive-through mobile pantry at the Sussex Central High School in Georgetown. The Guard expects to assist 2,500 families at the site.

For more information on Delaware National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Bernie Kale at george.b.kale2.civl@mail.mil, or 302-326-7010.

To date, the Illinois National Guard has collected more than 5,000 COVID-19 samples at McLean Country Fairgrounds.

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 at ng.il.ilarng.list.staff-pao@mail.mil.

The Kansas National Guard is providing a mask fitting team to assist with the testing of all CBTS staff and transporting boxes of test kits from five cities to Topeka Laboratories.

To date, KSNG has completed more than 5,200 tests at community-based testing sites, delivered more than 1,300 cases of medical PPE to 23 counties and prepared more than 1.1 million for Million Meals Mission.

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 Maryland National Guard is leading supply and distribution efforts of hospital beds and medical equipment to facilities in Olney, Clinton, and Hagerstown. Additionally, the MDNG is supporting Maryland’s whole of government response to COVID-19.

For more information on Maryland National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Kurt Rauschenberg at kurt.m.rauschenberg.mil@mail.mil, 410-576-6179, or the Maryland National Guard Public Affairs Office at ng.md.mdarng.list.pao@mail.mil.

The Michigan National Guard is assisting the Michigan Department of Corrections in testing approximately 7,500 inmates, all inmates, for COVID-19 at six prisons.

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.

The Montana National Guard has completed the construction of a 90-bed mobile medical facility at the MetraPark Expo Center in Billings. The site will be used for low-acute non-COVID-19 patients.

For more information on Montana National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Capt. Dan Bushnell at daniel.r.bushnell.mil@mail.mil, or 406-324-3009.

New York:
The New York National Guard has nearly 3,520 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 is delivering medical supplies – include protective masks, gowns, face shields and COVID-19 testing kits – to 136 nursing homes and adult care facilities in the Bronx and Queens.
  • The NYNG continues testing at five antibody testing sites, with 2376 tests administered May 16. To date, 6,460 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 3,223 tests May 16. To date, 251,880 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 434,738 meals May 16. To date, soldiers and airmen have distributed nearly 11 million meals.
  • Similar food distribution missions are underway in Westchester County, where Guardsmen distributed 2,314 meals May 16, and have provided 122,491 meal packages since the start of the mission. In Albany County 4,392 meals have been provided to quarantined residents as of May 16.
  • Soldiers helping to process and ship goods at the regional food bank in Schenectady delivered 6,322 meals as of May 16.
  • Hand sanitizer delivery to local governments is ongoing. A total of 60,999 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, where 3,735 calls to veterans have been made. 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 58,000 kits May 16 for distribution across the state. The team has built 898,630 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.

North Carolina:
The North Carolina National Guard is partnering with Team Rubicon, a veteran disaster relief service organization, to distribute food to the local community at the Second Harvest Food Bank Southeast in Fayetteville.

Additionally, Guardsmen are delivering more than 432,000 gloves, 44,000 face shields, 45,000 shoe coverings, 89,000 procedural masks and 3,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to two warehouse sites that support 112 facilities.

For more information on North Carolina National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Matt DeVivo at matthew.r.devivo.mil@mail.mil, or 984-664-6244.

North Dakota:
The North Dakota National Guard is assisting the North Dakota Department of Health and other civilian agencies with the mass testing efforts in support of the community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information on North Dakota National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Maj. Amber Schatz at amber.r.schatz.mil@mail.mil, or 701-333-2007.

Puerto Rico:
The Puerto Rico National Guard is conducting testing of first responders at 13 sites around the island. Additionally, the Guard is opening six regional support area warehouses.

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.

The Texas National Guard continues to operate mobile testing sites throughout the state. To date, the Guard has collected more than 33,000 COVID-19 samples.

For more information on Texas National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Lt. Col. Rita Holton at rita.m.holton.mil@mail.mil, 512-782-6045, or the Texas National Guard Public Affairs Office at ng.tx.txarng.mbx.pao@mail.mil.

Members of the Virginia National Guard are supporting 27 sampling missions statewide. To date, more than 10,000 samples collected.

For more information on Virginia National Guard activities, please contact the state PAO Cotton Puryear at alfred.a.puryear.civ@mail.mil, 804-236-7892, or the Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office at ngva.pao@mail.mil.

The Washington National Guard is working with the Department of Health and AmeriCorps to build, package and deliver COVID-19 test kits. To date, the Guard has assembled more than 28,300 kits, enough to test 141,530 people.

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

West Virginia:
Currently, 685 members of the West Virginia National Guard are on duty supporting the state’s COVID-19 response. To date, WVNG has completed 1,097 missions across the state.

The West Virginia National Guard is partnering with the West Virginia Department of Human Resources and Berkeley County Health Department to provide COVID-19 testing. Vulnerable populations in the Martinsburg area being given the opportunity to get tested for the virus and help stop the spread of the disease.

Guardsmen continue to provide PPE training for various businesses, state agencies and first responders. To date, this team has trained 3,963 personnel across 724 businesses and 97 medical or long-term care facilities.

WVNG has conducted 1,621 COVID-19 tests for 84 lane support missions and 3,065 tests as part of their overall response mission.

Guardsmen assisted with packing 800 boxed meals at the Mountaineer Food Bank and 288 family meals boxes at the Facing Hunger Food Bank. To date, the WVNG has packaged and delivered more than 235,460 meals to food insecure residents.

Task Force Sustainment, dedicated to receiving and moving critical supplies across the state, has distributed more than 1.8 million items to all 55 counties in West Virginia.

West Virginia Guard personnel continue to assist with sanitizing first responder and public transport vehicles. They have sanitized 390 vehicles, including ambulances, police vehicles and public transport buses, in Huntington and Charleston.

WVNG medical personnel, augmenting the DHHR’s regional epidemiology teams, supported 254 voluntary COVID-19 mapping engagements May 15. To date, the state’s seven regional epidemiology teams have conducted 7,127 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 the Wisconsin Department of Health Services with 25 specimen collection teams that operate at 10 collection sites including correctional facilities health clinics, private businesses, and CBTS throughout the state.

Additionally, the WING has completed approximately 39,000 tests and collected more than 5,500 specimens at the Resch Center to date, and WING is planning for 21 additional testing sites through May.

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.