Coronavirus | COVID-19 Updates

Latest National Guard cornavirus update: Troop count holding at about 29,000, more than half under Title 32 orders

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 holding steady.

There are now about 29,000 Air and Army National Guard professionals are supporting the COVID-19 crisis response at the direction of their governors. That’s the roughly the same as figures posted Sunday.

In addition, 34 states, three territories and the District of Columbia have now been approved for use of federal funds for state missions under Title 32, with another six requests moving through the approval process.

As of Monday morning, 513 Guard troops had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the latest figures provided by the Pentagon. That’s an increase of 30 from Friday.

Of the nearly 30,000 Guard troops activited in the COVID-19 response, more than a half —16,500 as of Monday — are under Title 32 status. Those figures fluctuate regularly depending on how many missions are performed per state as validated by FEMA and ordered by President Donald Trump.

The status, ordered by Trump, means the federal government is picking up 100 percent of the cost, with control remaining in the hands of governors.

It is also supposed to mean that those troops — risking thier health and that of their families by being on the front lines of the coronavirus fight — receive healthcare and increased housing allowance equal to active duty and reserve troops doing the same work.

However, the rollout has been a bureacratic nightmare, as it initially called for 30-day activations, which meant that the benefits kicking in at 31 days were unvailable. Some states, like Maryland, anticipating an extention, issued short-term Title 32 orders. Rescinding those orders and issuing new ones so that troops get their full benefits has been a challenging task.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Pentagon, National Guard Bureau and states are are coordinating efforts to bring more states on 31-day orders. Meanwhile, several troops from Maryland — which had not been officially placed on 31-day orders until Saturday — told Military Times Friday that many are worried about paying bills without the increased benefits.

Army Brig. Gen. Adam R. Flasch, Maryland National Guard director of joint staff, told Military Times in an email late Friday night that the problems will be worked out.

National Guard officials highlighted some of the efforts:

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

The New York National Guard now has about 3,500 Guardsmen and women mobilized to support the statewide response, from the eastern tip of Long Island to Buffalo. The most visible National Guard missions are the 450 soldiers and airmen supporting 10 New York state COVID19 testing sites. The sites have been testing an average of more than 6,000 people daily.

The toughest mission for the soldiers and airmen of the New York National Guard, according to Maj. Gen. Ray Shields, adjutant general, is assisting the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City.

Because the work is emotionally trying, New York National Guard chaplains and behavioral health representatives have been meeting regularly with the Soldiers and Airmen working on this mission.

And, in just one month, the Georgia Department of Defense has moved from contingency planning in preparation for COVID-19 operations to full engagements in 10 missions across the state.

By April 10, nearly 1,000 soldiers and airmen had cleaned nearly 120 facilities. More than 200 of Georgia National Guard soldiers and airmen were working with medical personnel at 19 hospitals across the state.

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;

*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

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 Air National Guard delivered 40,000 yards of fabric from North Carolina to Arizona to be made into medical gowns. The wing volunteered for the airlift mission to speed the transportation of medical supplies and PPE needed for COVID response in Arizona.

Arkansas

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.

California

The California National Guard provided a C-130 Hercules from the 129th Rescue Wing to deliver medical supplies to Springfield, Illinois, to assist the state in their COVID-19 response.

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 currently building a 646-bed alternate care facility at the Connecticut Convention Center.

District of Columbia

The District of Columbia National Guard completed a convoy picking up medical ventilators with light medium tactical vehicles. The ventilators were picked up in Delaware and delivered to the D.C. Department of Health warehouse as part of Task Force Able’s COVID-19 response.

Florida

The Florida National Guard has more than 2,280 soldiers and airmen mobilized in support of the state’s COVID-19 response providing operational support of CBTS; augmentation of airport screening measures; mobile testing teams; statewide logistics support; establishment of an alternate care facility at the Miami Beach Convention Center; as well as conducting continued coordination, planning and operational mission sets.

Florida National Guardsmen have formed mobile testing teams. They are supporting special populations at long-term care facilities throughout the state, testing more than 690 individuals to date. There are now 10 mobile testing teams supporting this endeavor in close support to county and state health departments.

*The FLNG has collected more than 38,510 samples at CBTS across the state. The FLNG will start operations in support of the FEMA CBTS at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville April 13. Mission analysis continues for support of two walk-through based CBTS locations in Broward County (Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderdale).

*The FLNG’s Task Force AID continues set up and coordination at the Miami Beach Convention Center alternate care facility. The TF will provide medical staff augmentation when the site is operational later this month.

*Members of the FLNG continue to support screening, facilitating information at seven airports. Passenger densities continue with an uptick in travelers potentially due to the holiday.

*Soldiers are activated across four locations (Flagler, Lakeland, Miramar and Miami) to provide support for a variety of missions to include food distribution, traffic control, security, etc. To date, the FLNG has completed three missions supporting negotiated movement of ventilators and anesthesia machines from universities and elective surgery clinics to hospitals.

*FLNG is supporting the State Logistics Readiness Center with continuous operations, as well as augmenting the state’s logistics branch, ensuring commodities distribution and asset visibility on both state and federal supply chains.

Georgia

More than 1,885 Georgia National Guard soldiers and airmen are on duty in support of the state’s fight against COVID-19.

*GANG soldiers and airmen in 58 Infection Control teams have cleaned nearly 120 facilities.

*Guardsmen continue working shoulder to shoulder with medical personnel at 19 hospitals across the state. *Citizen-warriors are providing support to food bank operations in Valdosta, one of nine foodbanks supported by the GANG across the state.

*Logisticians support Georgia Emergency Management Agency and Department of Public Health warehouse operations and isolation facilities. GANG personnel provide health screenings at hospitals in Athens, Atlanta, Albany, Macon, and Gainesville, freeing nurses and medical support personnel to care for patients.

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 supporting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA in the temporary conversion of part of the McCormick Place Convention Center into an alternate care facility for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms who do not require intensive care in the Chicago area.

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

More than 1,340 Air and Army Guardsmen from Louisiana support civil authorities by providing medical, engineering assessment, commodities distribution support, shelter assistance, traffic control points and drive-through testing site support.

Maine

The Maine National Guard is providing equipment support to Veterans Affairs’ facilities.

Maryland

More than 1,500 members of the Maryland National Guard continue supporting the state to combat the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, nearly 700 additional Maryland citizen-warriors are in an enhanced readiness status; ready to come 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 supporting the Maryland Department of Health in the state’s COVID-19 mitigation and suppression efforts at nursing homes and other facilities across the state.

*Maryland Guardsmen are supporting food distribution missions throughout Baltimore County.

*Cyber specialists from the Maryland National Guard, Defense Force, and Department of Information Technology are assisting in the protection of virtual communities by evaluating Maryland government websites to ensure they are functioning properly and the information presented is accurate.

*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 MDNG continues to support Marylanders in need of screening at FedEx Field, Pimlico, vehicle emissions centers, and the state house.

• Maryland Air National Guard continues to process and distribute 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

About 650 Michigan National Guard soldiers and airmen are actively supporting the state's COVID-19 response, with an additional 6,600 service members 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

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.

Nebraska

The Nebraska National Guard is supporting the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services with alternate housing for medical professionals. DHHS has three facilities in Omaha, Lincoln and Kearney where medical workers can stay so that they don’t have to go home and risk infecting their families with the virus.

Additionally, 33 service members are logging people in and ou

Nevada

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.

New Hampshire

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

New York

More than 3,530 New York Air and Army National Guardsmen are on mission across the state with six joint task forces to manage logistics, warehouse operations, medical staff at Javits Center and New York City hospitals, and testing sites.

*The NYNG is supporting the alternate care facility at the South Beach Psychiatric Center on Staten Island.

*New York Guardsmen are supporting 10 drive-thru testing sites. More than 5,800 tests were conducted on April 12. Sites 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. Since the first test site was set up in Westchester County 100,000 people have visited these sites.

*National Guard personnel continue food packaging and distribution in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan in NYC. The soldiers provided 105,186 meals April 12 and have distributed 819,917 meals. Similar missions resume in Westchester County in New Rochelle where 50,757 meal packages have been distributed; and Albany County where 833 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. Soldiers have delivered 31,420 N95 masks and another 360,000 surgical masks to hospitals across the state.

*Hand sanitizer warehousing and deliveries continue to locations across the lower Hudson Valley. More than 33,148 gallons of hand sanitizer have been delivered to local governments.

*The NYNG continues to provide support to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City. Soldiers and airmen are working with members of the Medical Examiner’s Office around the clock to assist in the dignified removal of human remains. The support mission expands today to assist the Westchester County Medical Examiner, as well.

*New York National Guard members are still providing support to the New York State Coronavirus Hotline by working call centers in Rotterdam and Brooklyn. Soldiers speak with an average of 3,300 callers each day and have provided response and support to more than 165,427 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’ve assembled more than 101,100 to date.

North Carolina

Currently, more than 240 North Carolina National Guard personnel are supporting the state’s COVID-19 response. The NCNG remains ready to bring on hundreds of additional Guardsmen to battle COVID-19.

*North Carolina National Guard engineers along with partner agencies and facility representatives have assessed more 20 locations for potential sites for alternate care facilities.

*NCNG members are supporting logistic and commodities distribution of PPE to medical facilities and other vulnerable facilities.

*NC Guard liaison officers have deployed to four county emergency operations centers to assist in tracking commodities and synchronizing operations.

North Dakota

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.

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.

Texas

The Texas National Guard is assisting with production of 2 million medical protective masks a week.

Vermont

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.

Nearly 290 members of the Virginia National Guard continue to support Virginia’s COVID-19 response efforts, including planning and logistics in Blacksburg, Christiansburg and Roanoke; as well as supporting a Virginia Department of Emergency Management supply warehouse in Richmond.

Virginia

Soldiers from the Lynchburg-based 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team have been providing logistical support to the Montgomery County Public Health Task Force’s Mobile COVID-19 testing site in Blacksburg.

The Virginia National Guard is postured to bring additional personnel on duty based on the needs of the Commonwealth. This includes soldiers airmen to assist with operations, logistics and medical planning. Additionally, soldiers are assisting with logistics support at warehouse operations and mobile testing sites at several locations in the state.

All personnel conducting support operations for COVID-19 response are following the prescribed health protection guidelines of social distancing, cloth face coverings and hand washing.

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

Since beginning operations in support of the state’s COVID-19 response, the West Virginia National Guard has completed nearly 320 missions. Currently, nearly 585 members of the WVNG are on duty serving the citizens across the state.

Members of a WVNG task force established protocol for, and took part, in the first government building sanitizing mission for the West Virginia Department of Higher Education in Charleston. This team of 20 service members sanitized the building to prevent any potential spread of COVID-19.

That task force also has also trained nearly 70 retail establishments, in the last couple days, on proper cargo, box handling and PPE wear. This team is also working with Operation Farm Stand in Hurricane on modified best practices to assist with addressing COVID-19 prevention for farmers and farm stands.

To date, the task force has trained more than 300 stores and 1,200 personnel while also assisting with COVID-19 drive through testing lanes in Huntington, Grafton, Weston, Williamson and Brooke County. Drive through testing support will expand to include Wyoming, Mingo, Logan, and Hampshire counties this week.

Task Force Sustainment, the team dedicated to moving critical PPE supplies and running supply chain logistics for COVID-19 response, delivered two ventilators to Bridgeport and Berkeley County April 10, and is distributing PPE to long term care facilities and county emergency managers today to address any shortfalls.

The number of WVNG personnel supporting the Workforce West Virginia mission has increased to 25, and will increase to 30 in the coming days.

WVNG’s mission of supporting the most vulnerable populations in the state continues to make an impact as service members recently packed 284 family boxes and 1,400 supplemental boxes at the Facing Hunger Food Bank in Huntington and 2,420 meals at the Mountaineer Food Bank.

National Guard data analysts working with DHHR’s regional epidemiology teams were able to support 156 contact tracing engagements and three expedited specimen transfers to track the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

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 in in the National Guard responding to COVID-19, please contact Military Times managing editor Howard Altman, haltman@militarytimes.com, if you are interested in sharing about your experience.

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