DRAPER, Utah –
CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah — The Utah National Guard’s COVID-19 Joint Task Force will end its mission March 17, 2022, after providing support to state health officials since March 2020.
Gov. Spencer Cox announced in late February that Utah’s response to the coronavirus pandemic will transition to a “Steady State” by March 31, 2022. The Utah National Guard’s COVID-19 Joint Task Force will relinquish its support as testing sites and monoclonal antibody treatments will be available in hospitals and urgent care centers statewide and will continue with Utah’s highly capable health care systems.
The COVID-19 support mission is one of the longest domestic support missions in the history of the Utah National Guard.
“Whenever there’s a need, the Utah National Guard heeds the call without hesitation,” said Gov. Cox. “We can’t thank them enough for their professionalism helping with the state’s COVID-19 response, from testing to vaccinations to facilities. We salute them for a job well done.”
More than 728 Soldiers and Airmen have been activated to support the response mission since March 2020 and have accomplished the following:
Monoclonal Infusions: 3,974
Contact Tracing: 5,830 cases closed
Warehouse: processed ~67 million items of PPE
Total Man Hours: 142,000
“The Utah National Guard has learned and grown from our engagements with our state and county partners in the state's response to the COVID pandemic. It has been an honor to work alongside the emergency managers and local health departments to serve the citizens of Utah,” said Brig. Gen. Darwin Craig, director of joint staff, Utah National Guard. “The goal of the Utah National Guard is to provide mission-ready forces to assist the state during times of crisis. We are proud to have served with Utahns who are professional and competent in delivering care to Utah's great citizens.”
The task force was activated by Gov. Gary Herbert in March 2020 and has continued under Gov. Spencer Cox. Throughout the pandemic, service members assigned to the task force have administered COVID-19 tests and vaccinations, conducted contact tracing, provided support to long-term care facilities, administered antibody infusions, and provided medical support, logistical support, and operational planners.
Nate Checketts, Utah Department of Health executive director, said the Utah National Guard has been an incredible partner throughout the COVID-19 pandemic providing invaluable assistance across many areas.
"Over the last two years, the pandemic has demanded more from us than we expected and pulled us into activities we hadn’t envisioned before. The Guard has been side by side with us as we responded to each of these new challenges. Early in the pandemic, the Guard helped set up our alternate care site at the Mountain America Expo Center. Guard members assisted with our response to outbreaks in long-term care facilities and recently provided assistance at one of Utah's hospitals. Guard members have answered phones, swabbed noses, stocked PPE, and performed hundreds of other tasks to keep our state and local responses up and running. As their mission comes to an end, the UDOH expresses the strongest appreciation for their dedicated service and assistance during this time," he added.
As demonstrated during the past two years, the Utah National Guard is a capable, skilled, community-based force comprised of approximately 7,300 trained citizen-Soldiers and Airmen who are always ready to support emergencies and operations worldwide.