Thanks to a change in orders for the Wisconsin National Guard, the number of Guard troops mobilized in the effort to cope with the coronavirus pandemic has dropped for the first time since the activations began.
There are now nearly 28,000 Air and Army National Guard professionals are supporting the COVID-19 crisis response at the direction of their governors. That’s 1,400 fewer than Thursday, a drop was resulting from the Wisconsin National Guard troops completing their mission in support of elections, Guard officials say.
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, 409 Guard troops had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the latest figures provided by the Pentagon. That’s an increase of 28 from Thursday.
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 National Guard Bureau featured several examples of its troop actions in response the the COVID-19 crisis:
The National Guard has assisted in constructing nearly 150 alternate care facilities, providing nearly 83,700 extra beds for COVID-19 patients.
“Over the past few weeks, each day has seen about 1,000 additional soldiers and airmen called up throughout the 54 states, territories, and the District of Columbia,” said Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau.
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.
In Louisiana alone, Lengyel said, Guard members have delivered more than 600,000 N95 masks, 3 million gloves, 300 ventilators, and nearly 100,000 protective suits to testing sites. Guard soldiers and airmen are also working at food banks and have distributed more than 400,000 pounds of food.
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;
*Flying ventilators and other critical equipment to support response efforts in other states;
*Providing mortuary affairs assistance as needed with dignity and respect;
*Providing time saving support to local law enforcement, freeing officers to perform their duty in the communities they serve;
*Conducting force health protection assessments to ensure our Guardsmen are taken care of;
*Manufacturing, sewing and distributing masks for mission essential personnel;
*Building and outfitting alternate care facilities to alleviate stress on medical infrastructure;
*Supporting warehouse operations and logistics efforts to help deliver and distribute lifesaving medical equipment and critical supplies;
*Delivering and distributing food in hard-hit communities and supporting food banks;
*Manning call centers to be a knowledgeable and calming voice;
*Providing vital 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
Here are the latest updates of National Guard actions across the United States and its territories:
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.
The Arkansas National Guard has more than 75 soldiers and airmen working in support of state authorities in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
*Soldiers and airmen are manning and operating two separate call centers, handling more than 650 calls per day.
*Guardsmen are assisting medical professionals at a drive-through testing center in Little Rock, screening and testing more than 100 patients per day.
*The Arkansas National Guard is also 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.
*Soldiers are working at a centralized warehouse handling and distributing received PPE and other medical supplies to designated healthcare facilities throughout the state. More than 36 pallets of supplies have been processed to date. They are gearing up for large shipments off PPE and medical supplies expected to arrive over the weekend.
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 National Guard members are assisting the city and county of Denver in sheltering people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak.
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.
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
The Florida National Guard currently has 2,299 soldiers and airmen operating in a mobilized status continuing to support the State’s COVID-19 response through operational support of CBTS, augmentation to airport screening measures, statewide logistics support, coordination, planning and operational mission sets.
*The FLNG is supporting the Army Corp of Engineers in preparing the Miami Beach Convention Center for conversion to a 450-bed alternate care facility. The site is expected to be operational in mid-April, just prior to Florida’s currently projected COVID patient bed utilization peak date of April 21.
*The FLNG has activated all remaining available Air and Army National Guard medical personnel to operate the MBCC alternate care facility.
*The state’s response continuum recently established Task Force MED to work in close coordination with county, Florida Department of Health and federal planners to establish the MBCC alternate care facility.
*The Command Teams from the Air and Army National Guard continue to canvas every member of the FLNG team and their families to communicate the mission, capture systemic issues and individual needs and instill a sense of unity during this historic response. The FLNG continues to aggressively support deployed soldiers and airmen and their families.
*To date, the FLNG has assisted in the testing of over 31,085 individuals for the COVID-19 virus.
Hawaii Army National Guard soldiers screen arrivals at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, in Honolulu in support for the COVID-19 pandemic response.
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.
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.
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
The Kentucky National Guard is supporting set up of an alternate care site in the Louisville Expo Center.
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.
The Maine National Guard is providing equipment support to Veterans Affairs’ facilities.
More than 1,500 members of the Maryland National Guard continue to combat the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, nearly 700 additional Maryland Guardsmen are in an enhanced readiness status; capable of coming on-duty within a matter of hours if needed.
Medical specialists from the MDNG’s medical detachment, 224th and 104th Area Support Medical companies are proactively 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 facilities across the state.
Guardsmen are supporting food distribution missions throughout Baltimore County.
The MDNG is continuing to support transportation and logistics needs for the Baltimore Convention Center alternate care facility.
Members of the MDNG continue to work closely with the Maryland Department of Transportation to provide essential information at Amtrak stations in central-Maryland.
The National Guard is continuing to support Marylanders in need of screening at FedEx Field, vehicle emissions centers, and the state house.
The Maryland Air National Guard continues to process and distribute countless pieces of medical equipment and personal protective equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile.
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.
640 Michigan National Guard soldiers and airmen are actively supporting the state’s COVID-19 response, and an additional 6,600 service members are ready to assist.
Across nine counties members of the National Guard 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.
Additionally, Joint Task Force – Michigan includes more than 120 MING members to coordinate National Guard response efforts across the state.
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.
The Missouri National Guard set up nine alternate care sites.
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.
Men and women of the Nevada National Guard are organizing and preparing PPE for distribution to hospitals across the state. At the direction of medical professionals, they are also distributing 50 ventilators received from the State of California.
The New Hampshire National Guard is supporting 14 alternate care sites with approximately 1,700 beds.
The New York National Guard has 3,425 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.
*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.
*NYNG members continue to manage the Javits site as the unified command post for the multi-agency response.
*The NYNG is also supporting the alternate care facility at the South Beach Psychiatric Center on Staten Island. *Guardsmen are supporting 10 drive-thru testing sites. Soldiers and Airmen are collecting samples and providing general-purpose support at the testing locations. They administered 5,400 tests April 9.
*A tenth testing site opens April 10 in Brooklyn adjacent to a retail store parking lot in Flatbush.
*National Guard personnel continue food packaging and distribution today in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan in New York City. Soldiers have distributed 542,687 meals.
*Similar missions continue in Westchester County in New Rochelle where 24,365 meal packages have been distributed and Albany County where 778 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 sites in the Hudson Valley, the Albany area, and Mohawk Valley.
*Soldiers delivered 50,000 protective masks from state stockpiles to ten downstate hospitals April 9.
*Hand sanitizer warehousing and deliveries continue today to locations across the lower Hudson Valley. More than 32,300 gallons of hand sanitizer have been delivered 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.
*NYNG members continue to provide support to the New York State Coronavirus Hotline by working call centers in Rotterdam and Brooklyn to offer updated information to the public. Soldiers spoke with 3,361 callers April 9, and have provided response and support to more than 155,870 callers since the mission began. *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 20,000 kits April 9 for distribution across the state, providing more than 50,600 since starting the mission.
More than 125 North Dakota National Guard soldiers and airmen are supporting the state’s COVID-19 response efforts. This includes assisting the North Dakota departments of Health and Emergency Services in any requested capacity.
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.
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 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 National Guard members helped open a fourth COVID-19 testing site capable of testing 1,000 people per day.
The South Carolina National Guard is building testing sites and erecting tents for patient triage.
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.
The Texas National Guard is assisting with production of 2 million medical protective masks a week.
More than 210 Vermont National Guard soldiers, airmen on state active duty supporting the state and the Vermont National Guard’s response to COVID-19.
Members of the VTNG have partnered with state foremen to build a 400-bed alternate care facility at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction. The VTNG will also fully staff the facility with medical personnel.
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.
Since beginning operations in support of the state’s COVID-19 response 27 days ago, the West Virginia National Guard has completed 280 missions. Nearly 560 members of the WVNG are on duty serving the citizens of the state.
The WVNG has increased the number of personnel supporting the Workforce West Virginia mission to 21 and are working on standing up a third call center to address the growing need for processing unemployment claims.
The WVNG has trained 174 retail establishments and 651 personnel on proper cargo, box handling and PPE wear. This team will develop guidelines and best practices, in conjunction with county health departments, for convenience stores and gas stations to implement to protect workers and customers in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Guardsmen are supporting the most vulnerable populations, which continues to make an impact. In the last 24 hours WVNG packed 417 family boxes at the Facing Hunger Food Bank in
Huntington and 2,086 meals at the Mountaineer Food Bank. Personnel operating our refrigerated trucks assisted in the delivery of 3,500 meals to Greenbrier, Ohio and McDowell Counties.
The WVNG logistics team received 50,000 gloves, 6,900 gowns, 92,100 surgical masks and 34,080 face shields April 9. They distributed critical PPE supplies to Morgan, Jefferson and Berkeley counties to address needs for areas where there has been an increase in cases. That delivery consisted of 3,300 gloves, 600 gowns, 650 surgical masks, 520 N95 masks, 105 face shields, and 80 goggles.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are interested in sharing about your experience.
Howard Altman is an award-winning editor and reporter who was previously the military reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and before that the Tampa Tribune, where he covered USCENTCOM, USSOCOM and SOF writ large among many other topics.