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By Sgt. Nathaniel Free
State Public Affairs Office
More than 100 soldiers and airmen from the Utah National Guard arrived at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy, Utah, May 13, 2020, to receive training on three separate missions that they'll be supporting across the state of Utah: COVID-19 testing, voluntary COVID-19 mapping and Utah Health Emergency Response Team training.
The Utah National Guard was mobilized on state active duty orders to support Utah’s enhanced COVID-19 response, according to Lt. Col. Tammy Manwaring, the Utah National Guard’s task force commander.
“Today, they’ll be receiving training on actual COVID testing,” Manwaring said. “They’ll be receiving training on PPE, donning and doffing, and they’ll also be receiving training on facilities assessment, which is an education piece for those care facilities and shelters out in our communities.”
With this specialized training, members of the Utah National Guard are able to fill in gaps at mobile testing centers and assisted living facilities across the state, Manwaring explained.
“It’s a great privilege to support their community and their state,” she said.
The Utah Department of Health was able to provide the specialized training necessary for soldiers and airmen to assist where needed.
“I think the most important thing to remember is that people who are helping and in uniform are our Utah residents,” said Brett Cross, Utah Department of Health, Medical Surge Branch Director.
“These are people that live local, that live next door to you any other day of the week, and happen to have a specific job with the military. Regardless of what uniform they’re wearing or what they look like, they're still part of that team.”
Not only does the Utah National Guard support the state’s response to COVID-19 by enhancing the Utah Department of Health’s capabilities as needed, but members of the Guard are also currently helping with document translation and the governor’s PPE Push Pack initiative, ensuring local businesses have proper personal protective equipment to reopen the economy.
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