The number of Guard troops mobilized in the effort to cope with the coronavirus pandemic is holding steady.
There are more than 45,000 Air and Army National Guard professionals supporting the COVID-19 crisis response at the direction of their governors as of Friday afternoon. That’s about the same as Thursday.
In addition, 43 states, three territories and the District of Columbia have now been approved for use of federal funds for state missions under Title 32.
As of Thursday morning, 842 Guard troops had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the latest figures provided by the Pentagon. That was an increase of 21 from Thursday.
Of those troops activated in the COVID-19 response, 37,400 are currently under orders authorized for Title 32 502(f) status, said Army Master Sgt. W. Michael Houk, a spokesman for the National Guard Bureau. That’s an increase of about 500 troops since Monday.
“As states amend orders and issue new ones based on their needs this number will keep moving,” he told Military Times. "Also based on response needs, as determined at the state level, some orders may remain under state active duty."
The status, ordered by President Donald Trump, means the federal government is picking up 100 percent of the cost, with control remaining in the hands of governors. It also means 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.
There was an initial catch. Only troops on 31-day orders were eligible for the increased benefits. That problem, however, was since fixed by Trump and now states are going through the process of either initiating or amending those orders to meet the 31-day requirement for increased troop benefits.
In addition to those on Title 32 orders, there are also about 7,600 Guard troops across the nation on State Activated Duty who are not receiving increased benefits.
The 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 California National Guard is providing eight-person medical support teams to skilled nursing facilities at 10 sites in Los Angeles County, providing additional medical capacity to facilities treating vulnerable populations. CANG has nearly 2,000 Guardsmen activated in response to COVID-19.
The Florida National Guard has more than 2,725 soldiers and airmen in a mobilized status.
The FLNG continues supporting community-based testing sites, and mobile testing teams throughout Florida. To date, the FLNG has assisted in the testing of more than 1 million individuals.
Additionally, more than 90 FLNG medical professionals are supporting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ alternate care facility at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Nine Georgia National Guard strike teams are deployed statewide, testing long-term care residents for COVID-19. Additionally, GANG medics are augmenting staff in 14 hospitals across the state.
Indiana National Guard members are working with the Department of Health, and local agencies, to test for COVID-19 at new study test sites. This effort will help determine the prevalence of the coronavirus in the state.
The Kansas National Guard has more than 500 National Guard soldiers and airmen on duty supporting four testing sites, providing screening at a correctional facility, distributing food at eight food banks, and assisting with N95 mask fit tests at nursing and rehabilitation facilities.
More than 1,300 members of the Maryland National Guard continue supporting the state’s effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, more than 700 additional Maryland citizensoldiers and -airmen are in an enhanced readiness status, capable of reporting to duty within a matter of hours.
Health and medical specialists from the MDNG’s medical detachment, 224th and 104th Area Support Medical companies have assisted at more than 60 nursing homes and children’s facilities. About 30 MDNG members are supporting the Maryland Department of Health as part of the state’s COVID-19 mitigation and suppression efforts, with multi-discipline assessment teams helping to safeguard the citizens at nursing homes and other facilities across the state.
The MDNG State Surgeon Col. Eric Allely, has been tapped to serve as the Emergency Safety and Compliance Officer for nursing homes. He is responsible for ensuring these facilities comply with state law and safety protocols.
Maryland Guardsmen are supporting food distribution missions throughout Baltimore and Frederick counties, the city of Baltimore, and on the Eastern Shore.
Additionally, the MDNG is supporting the Baltimore City Department of Aging, the Maryland Department of Transportation, and the Salvation Army with the distribution of more than 7,000 meals to 43 senior facilities throughout the state.
Cyber specialists from the Maryland National Guard, Defense Force, and Department of Information Technology are assisting in the protection of virtual communities providing critical information related to COVID-19.
Recently, Howard County’s Department of Technology and Communication Services announced a collaboration with the Maryland National Guard Joint Cyber Security Task Force to increase the county’s cyber protection during the pandemic state of emergency. This partnership will bring additional support, augment Howard County’s existing capabilities, and raise cybersecurity readiness during this time of increased vulnerability.
The MDNG continues to support Marylanders in need of screening at Prince George’s Health Clinic, Pimlico Race Course, Rawlings Conservatory, Maryland State Fairgrounds, vehicle emissions centers and the state house.
Additionally, the Maryland Air National Guard continues to process and distribute pieces of medical equipment and PPE from the Strategic National Stockpile. To date, these airmen have processed more than 3 million essential pieces of medical supply and PPE.
The New York National Guard has 3,630 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 Javits Center, New York City hospitals and testing sites.
NYNG members continue to manage Javits as the unified command post for the multi-agency response. To date, more than 1,095 patients have received care at Javits NY Medical Station.
*New York Air National Guard pararescue airmen, 106th Rescue Wing, who are trained as emergency medical technicians, are also assisting in city hospitals.
*The NYNG is supporting the alternate care facility at the South Beach Psychiatric Center on Staten Island. Additional forces are providing support at three other potential alternate care sites on Long Island or Westchester.
*NYNG is supporting 15 drive-through testing sites, providing administrative and logistical support, medical support at select sites and mask-fit testing services.
*Test sites at the State University of New York, Binghamton, and Griffiss International Airport in Rome open May 1. A site at Monroe County Community College in Rochester, is scheduled to open May 2.
*Guardsmen conducted 4,677 tests April 29, with more than 180,625 tests administered at NYNG-supported sites through April 28. The sites are located at: State University of New York Stony Brook; Jones Beach State Park; Staten Island (adjacent to Staten Island University Hospital); 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; Linden Blvd. in Brooklyn; SUNY Albany; Niagara County Community College in Sandborn; SUNY Binghamton; and Griffiss International Airport in Rome. Soldiers and airmen are collecting samples and providing generalpurpose support at the testing locations.
*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 218,520 meals April 29. To date, soldiers have distributed more than 3.7 million meals.
*Similar food distribution missions are underway in Westchester County, where Guardsmen distributed 3,120 meals April 29, and have provided 93,528 meal packages since the start of the mission. In Albany County 2,589 meals have been provided to quarantined residents as of April 29.
*NYNG soldiers and airmen have been working at the regional food bank in Latham, and have prepared 139 pallets of food for shipment across northeastern New York.
*Soldiers helping to process and ship goods at the regional food bank in Schenectady delivered 2,647 meals April 29.
*New York soldiers and airmen continue conducting logistics missions, including warehousing and commodity distribution of medical supplies at six sites in the Hudson Valley, the Albany area, and Mohawk Valley.
*Hand sanitizer delivery to areas in the lower Hudson Valley is ongoing, with 179 gallons delivered April 29. A total of 50,407 gallons of 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 where 250 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. 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 more than 16,600 kits April 29 for distribution across the state. The team has built 478,950 testing kits since starting the mission.
The North Carolina National Guard is helping plant, tend and harvest produce at a food farm with 100 percent of the harvest going to food-insecure households. In just one day, National Guard members harvested nearly 500 pounds of collards.
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 is in the National Guard responding to COVID-19, and would like to talk about your experience, please contact Military Times managing editor Howard Altman, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.