Editor in Chief & Publisher Jeff Brown.
According to a press release from the State Emergency Operations Center, the Michigan National Guard has joined a collaborative effort with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and State Emergency Operations Center to assist with voluntary COVID-19 testing for staff and residents at the request of long term care facilities across Michigan.
- From May 7-4, the Michigan National Guard Michigan National Guard assisted the Upper Peninsula Health Department, DHHS, and SEOC by completing testing at seven long term care facilities in the Upper Peninsula.
- From May 15-22, Michigan National Guard testing teams assisted in Oakland, Genesee, Kent, Muskegon, Washtenaw, Wayne, Ingham, Saginaw, and Macomb counties.
- Support to DHHS testing is expected to continue, based on DHHS priority, through the end of May with Kalamazoo, Calhoun, St. Clair, Ottawa, Berrien, Gratiot, Bay, Eaton, Grand Traverse and Livingston counties.
According to the media release, “The Michigan National Guard is made up of men and women who strive to provide innovative solutions and performance excellence to the citizens of Michigan,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, Adjutant General and Director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “We look forward to continuing our support to communities, especially the most vulnerable populations.”
According to the statement, the Michigan National Guard has more than 60 trained testing teams ready to assist, 15 of which are currently assigned to support this long term care facility testing mission. Separate teams have recently supported Michigan Department of Corrections facilities throughout the state. These three-member teams include a certified medic to conduct the testing and two members to assist with paperwork, logistics, and non-medical tasks. Teams are equipped to perform testing, or to train staff members to perform testing at the discretion of the long term care facility.
“Widespread testing will be the most crucial tool we have in protecting Michiganders from COVID-19 and lowering the chance of a second wave,” said Gov. Grethchen Whitmer. “Residents and staff in our long-term care facilities are uniquely vulnerable to the spread of this virus, and I’m proud to work with Maj. Gen. Rogers and our dedicated guard members to ensure people in these facilities can get tested easily. We will get through this together.”
All team members have tested negative for COVID-19 and have been self-isolating in accordance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance to ensure health and safety and to protect Michigan communities. The teams wear personal protective equipment, including Tyvek suits, face shields, nitrile gloves, and face mask (N-95 or surgical, as appropriate).