Coronavirus | COVID-19 Updates

Latest Guard COVID-19 update: More than 29,400 troops mobilized

All 50 of the nation's governors have declared emergencies in their states and now many are starting to activate their Air and Army National Guard to help deal with the growing coronavirus pandemic.

The number of Guard troops mobilized in the effort to cope with the coronavirus pandemic is continuing to grow.

There are now more than 29,400 Air and Army National Guard professionals are supporting the COVID-19 crisis response at the direction of their governors.

That’s an increase of 1,000 Guard troops since Wednesday.

In addition, 21 states, two territories and the District of Columbia have now been approved for use of federal funds for state missions under Title 32, with another 20 requests moving through the approval process.

The list includes California, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas , U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington.

As of Thursday morning, 381 Guard troops had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the latest figures provided by the Pentagon. That’s an increase of 32 from Wednesday.

The troops, working at the discretion of their governors, at the direction of their governors with state priorities, are continuing 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 Pentagon’s morning update featured several examples:

*Airmen from the California Air National Guard are transporting 500 state-owned ventilators and medical supplies from California to states in need, including New York.

*The Pennsylvania National Guard is supporting the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, assembling 3,000 boxed meals a day which are distributed to local families in need.

*The Massachusetts National Guard is delivering Personal Protective Equipment to first responders and hospitals throughout the state and providing staff augmentation and meal delivery to the Holyoke Soldiers Home.

*The South Carolina National Guard is building testing sites and erecting tents for patient triage.  Colorado National Guard members are assisting the city and county of Denver in sheltering people experiencing homelessness during the COVID19 outbreak.

Louisiana National Guard Soldiers and Airmen wearing protective gear collect nasal swabs from patients during a drive-through community based COVID-19 testing site located at Louis Armstrong Park, New Orleans, La., March 20, 2020. Governor John Bel Edwards has activated over 300 Louisiana Guardsmen so far to assist with the COVID-19 response. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Dan Farrell)
No, the National Guard will not be used to enforce martial law, says its leader

As it stands now, the 9,000 and counting troops mobilized in every U.S. state and territory are sticking to mobile testing, logistics, transportation and other non-law enforcement support to civilian authorities, National Guard bureau chief Air Force Gen. Joe Lengyel told reporters Tuesday.

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 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to increase medical capacity;

*Supporting warehouse operations and logistics efforts to help deliver critical supplies;

*Delivering food in hard-hit communities;

*Manning call centers to be a knowledgeable and calming voice.

*Providing critical 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.

Members of the Florida National Guard (FLNG) gather with local hospital staff to collaborate on donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE) during Task Force – Medicals’ response to the COVID-19 virus, March 17, 2020. The FLNG is mobilizing up to 500 Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen in support of the Florida Department of Health response in Broward County. (Sgt. Leia Tascarini/Army)
Members of the Florida National Guard (FLNG) gather with local hospital staff to collaborate on donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE) during Task Force – Medicals’ response to the COVID-19 virus, March 17, 2020. The FLNG is mobilizing up to 500 Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen in support of the Florida Department of Health response in Broward County. (Sgt. Leia Tascarini/Army)

Here are the latest updates of National Guard actions across the United States and its territories:

Arizona

The Arizona National Guard recently flew 300 sets of masks and gowns to a medical facility in the Navajo Nation town of Kayenta. The shipment also included some 2,000 gloves for healthcare workers. Several dozen guardsmen are working on building an alternate care facility in that area.

Arkansas

The Arkansas National Guard has 72 soldiers and airmen working in support of state authorities in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic:

*Operating two separate call centers at the Arkansas Department of Health, the lead agency in this crisis, taking calls from concerned citizens and connecting physicians directly with other medical providers at the Department of Health. They are fielding more than 650 calls per day.

*Supporting screening and testing patients for COVID-19 at the drive-through site is the primary missions of our Soldiers and Airmen medical personnel at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences drive-through testing center in Little Rock, which allows UAMS emergency room nurses and staff to tend to the emergency room. They are screening and testing more than 100 patients per day.

*Assisting the Arkansas Department of Health with medical, logistics, and communications planning and analysis, as well as liaisons with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and staff at the Emergency Operations Center, Joint Information Center, and Joint Operations Center.

*Receiving and distributing personal protective equipment and other medical supplies, from a centralized warehouse, to designated healthcare facilities throughout the state. More than 36 pallets of supplies have been processed so far, and more shipments are expected to arrive over the weekend

California

Airmen from the California Air National Guard are transporting 500 state-owned ventilators and medical supplies from California to states in need, including New York.

Colorado

Colorado National Guard members are assisting the city and county of Denver in sheltering people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Connecticut

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.

Georgia

Currently more than 600 service members of the Georgia National Guard are supporting coronavirus response missions across the state. The soldiers, airmen, and State Defense Force volunteers are supporting medical assistance teams, foodbank operations, isolation facilities and staffing the Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s State Operations Center in Atlanta.

In a relatively-new effort, the GANG is partnering with the Georgia Department of Public Health, the Georgia Department of Community Health, and the Georgia Healthcare Association to send infection control teams to nursing homes around the state

Florida

The Florida National Guard currently has 2,325 soldiers and airmen in a mobilized status.

Members of the FLNG continue supporting the state’s COVID-19 response through operational support of community-based testing sites; augmentation to airport screening measures; statewide logistics support; coordination; planning and operational mission sets.

To date, the FLNG has assisted in the testing of more than 26,640 individuals for the COVID-19 virus.

Hawaii

Hawaii Army National Guard soldiers screen arrivals at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, in Honolulu in support for the COVID-19 pandemic response.

Idaho

The Idaho National Guard has 40 soldiers and airmen assisting food pantries at three locations throughout the state. These personnel are helping prepare food boxes and assisting with food distribution to members of the community.

In addition, two soldiers and two airmen are conducting forklift and logistics activities at local warehouses.

The IDNG had personnel assisting with offloading FEMA supplies as they arrive in state and the IDNG delivered 150 cots to Idaho Power to enable the utility service to conduct 24-hour operations if necessary.

Idaho National Guard personnel are supporting the Idaho Office of Emergency Management in their Emergency Operations Center and the IDNG’s Joint Operations Center has been mission planning and processing Soldiers and Airmen as they come forward to support these missions.

Illinois

The Illinois National Guard is establishing mobile testing sites in Chicago and Bloomington, conducting assessments for alternate care facilities and providing medical support to one Illinois Department of Corrections facility.

Iowa

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

Kentucky

The Kentucky National Guard is supporting set up of an alternate care site in the Louisville Expo Center.

Louisiana

The Louisiana National Guard, as directed by Governor John Bel Edwards, now has over 1,340 soldiers and airmen assisting with the COVID-19 response, April 9.

The LANG has mobilized Guardsmen throughout the state to support current operations, including: medical, engineering assessment, and commodities distribution support, shelter assistance, traffic control point and drive-through testing site support, proper PPE training, assistance at food banks, and to provide liaison officer teams to Parish Emergency Operations Centers.

In Orleans Parish, Guardsmen have assisted in the setup of the Morial Convention Center temporary hospital and personal housing units … now with over 770 patient-ready beds.

"What's going on in New Orleans is a tremendous collaborative effort, and we are making significant improvements to the medical capabilities and surge capacity of the city and state,” said Brig. Gen. Lee Hopkins, newly appointed Dual Status Commander of Task Force Louisiana. “I am surrounded by outstanding men and women and am honored to have the privilege to lead this historic dual-status Task Force."

While providing support to testing sites in 4 parishes to include Orleans, Jefferson, Calcasieu, and Lafayette, Louisiana Guardsmen aided in the testing of over 1,300 citizens thus far. Today, the testing site in Orleans started using the new self-test kits.

"There is less patient contact with the new test kit, and it's less invasive than the test that we were administering before," said Tech. Sgt. Tyquan Jordan, a Louisiana Air National Guardsman with the 159th Medical Group who has been administering coronavirus tests in New Orleans. "It's sped up the testing process, and we can maintain a safe distance through the entire process."

The commodities distribution mission has yielded over 770,000 N95 masks, 3,632,890 gloves, 595 ventilators, and 104,745 Tyvek suits ... to only name a few items.

Maine

The Maine National Guard is constructing shelters outside Togus Virginia Medical Center, in Augusta, to conduct health screening prior to entry. The MENG is also conducting warehouse operations for the Maine CDC and distributing respirators and medical supplies to civilian agencies.

Maryland

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.

Massachusetts

The Massachusetts National Guard is delivering PPE to first responders and hospitals throughout the state and providing staff augmentation and meal delivery to the Holyoke Soldiers Home.

Michigan

The Michigan National Guard has 488 soldiers and airmen actively supporting the state's COVID-19 response. Across nine counties members of the MING are supporting requests from our local communities and state agencies.

Response missions include food distribution; Strategic National Stockpile support; screening operations; reception and staging; supply and logistics management; State Emergency Operations Center staff augmentation; and alternate care facility planning.

Currently, Joint Task Force – Michigan includes more than 100 MING members to coordinate National Guard response efforts across the state.

Minnesota

Minnesota National Guard men and women are cutting fabric, laundering, and distributing masks to be worn by mission essential personnel in various agencies throughout the state.

Missouri

The Missouri National Guard set up nine alternate care sites.

Montana

The Montana National Guard is conducting temperature screenings at 11 airports and train stations across the state and also assisting with planning at the State Emergency Management Agency.

New Hampshire

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

New York

The New York National Guard has 3,400 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. Additionally, NYNG members continue to manage the Javits site as the unified command post for the multi-agency response.

On April 8, 100 ventilators were delivered to the state stockpile for future distribution. Another 100, part of the federal stockpile, were brought to New York from California.

Other key missions by NYNG personnel include:

*The New York National Guard is also supporting the alternate care facility at the South Beach Psychiatric Center on Staten Island.

*The New York National Guard continues support at nine drive-thru testing sites, supporting more than 6,500 tests yesterday.

*National Guard personnel continue food packaging and distribution, with more than 520,000 meals distributed to date.

*New York Soldiers and Airmen are conducting logistics missions, including warehousing and commodity distribution of medical supplies.

*Hand sanitizer warehousing and deliveries continue, with more than 30,000 gallons of hand sanitizer delivered to local governments.

*The National Guard continues to provide logistics support to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City, assisting in the dignified removal of human remains when required.

*Soldiers continue packaging COVID-19 test kits for the New York State Department of Health, they have assembled about 41,100 kits for distribution across the state.

*NYNG members continue to provide support to the New York State Coronavirus Hotline, speaking with more than 5,000 callers on average a day.

North Dakota

The North Dakota National Guard set up a 200-bed alternate care site in Fargo, North Dakota.

Oregon

The Oregon National Guard is assisting the Department of Administrative Services with setting up 24-hour warehouse operations for receipt and distribution of all PPE received in the State. Additionally, the ORNG is supplying planners to the State Emergency Management Agency.

Pennsylvania

Nearly 850 Pennsylvania National Guard members are involved in supporting the state’s response to COVID-19. Some are actively conducting missions while others are preparing in anticipation of additional tasks with our state and federal agency partners.

The PNG continues: supporting the community testing site in Montgomery County and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank; assembling 3,000 boxed meals a day which are distributed to local families in need; and planning with our state partner agencies. To date, the PNG has assisted in: returning quarantined cruise ship passengers to their Pennsylvania homes; providing logistical support to the Department of Health; supporting the setup of a FEMA Medical Station in Glen Mills, Delaware County; and transporting cots from Norristown State Hospital to the FEMA Field Hospital.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico National Guard has 544 soldiers and airmen working directly in support of the COVID-19 response.

The PRNG is collaborating with island medical schools, and more than 60 medical students are supporting the screening and triage mission in the five airports around the island.

As of Thursday afternoon, there have been 45,646 people medically evaluated and temperatures screened by PRNG soldiers and airmen at all five airports on the island. Of those, 153 passengers were referred for additional screening at the airports triage areas; 55 passengers were tested for COVID-19, counseled and sent home under the PR Department of Health supervision and their family doctor; and 130 passengers have been referred for home domiciliary quarantine.

In coordination with FEMA, PRNG soldiers installed a portable mobile hospital in Mayaguez, on the west side of the island.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island National Guard members helped open a fourth COVID-19 testing site capable of testing 1,000 people per day.

South Carolina

The South Carolina National Guard is building testing sites and erecting tents for patient triage.

Tennessee

The Tennessee National Guard is supporting the state Department of Health in operating 35 testing sites across the state. Additionally, the Tennessee Guardsmen are operating PPE donation sites and distributing the PPE to first responders and hospitals, as well as assisting FEMA and DOH with building medical surge capacity in high risk areas.

Vermont

Nearly 200 Soldiers, Airmen, and foreman with the State of Vermont combined efforts to build a 400-bed Alternate Healthcare Facility (AHF) at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction, VT.

The Vermont National Guard will also fully staff the AHF with medical personnel.

“This is really incredible," said Brig. Gen. Greg Knight, adjutant general, Vermont National Guard. “The effort, the camaraderie, and the energy alone are so motivating. It’s truly inspiring to see this level of teamwork in executing a hasty joint operation to this level of efficiency. The Vermont National Guard will continue to work in support of Governor Scott and the whole-of-government effort," said Knight.

169 Soldiers and 44 Airmen are currently on state active duty supporting the State and the Vermont National Guard’s response to COVID-19

Washington

The Washington National Guard has 130 soldiers and airmen that will be supporting food banks starting this week through the month of April. Citizen airmen and soldiers will support 11 food banks throughout the state. Guardsmen are assistance during this health crisis by transporting, packaging and distribution of food to homes, community-based locations and partner agencies in neighboring communities.

Washington also has a Dual Status Commander and our Joint Task Force activated to support activities in the state.

West Virginia

Nearly 540 members of the West Virginia National Guard are serving the state through four lines of effort: operationalizing of the event, stabilizing the population, providing logistical movement of critical supplies and conducting data analysis to combat the virus.

Nineteen members of the WVNG are currently assisting Workforce West Virginia and have been receiving training to process unemployment claims to address the backlog of applications. By next week, our service members will be fully trained and able to process those claims. More personnel will be added to assist with answering calls to meet increasing demands for assistance.

Guardsmen continue to ramp up efforts to provide training to local retail establishments on proper cargo, box handling and PPE wear in an effort to flatten the curve of COVID-19 spread. So far, this task force has trained 125 stores and 523 personnel while also assisting with COVID19 drive through testing lanes in Huntington, Grafton, Weston and Brooke County starting today. Drive through testing support will expand to include Wyoming and Mingo counties later this week and Hampshire County next week.

The WVNG mission of supporting the most vulnerable populations in the state continues to make an impact and in the last 24 hours we packed 423 family boxes at the Facing Hunger Food Bank in Huntington and 1,363 meals at the Mountaineer Food Bank. We are adding an additional five WVNG service members to assist with increasing demand at the Gassaway location later this week. Our refrigerated trucks assisted with the delivery of meals to Mason and Wood Counties yesterday totaling 1,490 meals. To date, WVNG personnel have assisted in packing and distributing nearly 60,000 meals to those in need in the Mountain State.

The logistics team is continuing to provide assistance at St. Francis Hospital, alongside personnel from FEMA Region III, in the conversion of space to support COVID-19 patients while also receiving 5,080 goggles, 5,970 N95 masks, 3,300 gloves, 600 gowns and 105 face shields. The team also distributed hand sanitizer to Jefferson and Nicholas Counties and Cabell-Huntington Hospital.

Wisconsin

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 selfisolation 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.

This story will continue to be updated as the National Guard Bureau releases daily reports on National Guard activities nationwide. If you or someone you know has been called up to State Active Duty status, please contact Military Times managing editor Howard Altman, haltman@militarytimes.com, if you are interested in sharing about your experience.

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