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NEWS | April 3, 2020

Georgia National Guard ramps up COVID-19 testing

More than 200 members of the Georgia National Guard are helping test 1,500 people a day, using 10 mobile “strike teams” deployed to hot spots in the state to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“When the governor makes something a priority, this organization makes it a priority,” said Maj. Gen. Tom Carden, Georgia’s adjutant general.

The strike teams intend to test 1,500 citizens per day, with the capability to increase testing based on test-kit availability.

“We are able to anticipate and focus resources to include human capital on things the governor says are important,” said Carden. “It’s not about us, it’s about being a good teammate and making sure we make everything around us better.”

At the direction of Gov. Brian Kemp, the Georgia Guard will partner with Augusta University to stand up a 24/7 operations center to coordinate workflow, logistics and other initiatives to improve awareness of COVID-19 patterns.

The Georgia Guard’s Joint Task Force (JTF) has deployed over 2,500 members of the Georgia National Guard supporting the overall COVID-19 response. At the Georgia World Congress Center’s 200-bed, alternate care facility, Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers are assisting with traffic flow of staff, patients and contractors.

The task force’s 69 infection control teams (ICTs) are disinfecting nursing homes and 20 medical support teams (MSTs) are assisting hospital staff so they can focus on critical lifesaving requirements. Hospital Entry Control Teams (HECTs) are also screening visitors at hospital entrances and facilitating movement within facilities.

Teams specializing in infection control, medical support, hospital entry control, and testing collection are “purpose-built” capabilities, generated in response to the public health state of emergency.

Task force members are packaging food at 10 food banks and delivering it to Georgians in need, from Dalton to Valdosta. Also, Guard members are delivering food weekly to Atlanta Public School students while schools remain closed, with more than 62,000 meals delivered.

The Georgia National Guard continues to partner with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and the Georgia Department of Health to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

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