Idaho National Guard to start wrapping up COVID-19 operations

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Posted at 11:05 AM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 13:05:39-04

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho National Guard's COVID-19 Task Force will start wrapping up operations this month after completing more than 70 unique mission assignments.

In March of 2020. Gov. Brad Little authorized an initial activation of 50 personnel to respond to requests for help from food banks in Idaho and provide storage and distribution of PPE. That number increased to over 300 Idaho National Guard personnel serving on the task force.

Related: Idaho National Guard to help Primary Health clinics with testing, screening

Health districts, healthcare facilities and other entities receiving support from the task force can expect to see a reduction of Guard personnel over the next two weeks. Support will officially conclude on July 9, according to a news release from the Governor's office.

“The Idaho National Guard has played a critical role in saving lives and reducing the impact of COVID-19 on Idaho citizens. The Guard’s support was truly a gamechanger in the darkest months of our pandemic fight,” Governor Little said. “As a result of the Guard’s efforts, and the efforts of all our frontline and healthcare workers, Idaho has remained one of the most open states throughout the global pandemic.”

The task force did assignments like administrative and logistical support, COVID-19 testing and screening, administering vaccines, decontaminating long-term care facilities and other support to Idaho’s health district offices, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities as well as partnering with Native American tribes, according to the release.

Related: Little increasing Idaho National Guard personnel to help with vaccine distribution

The Idaho National Guard's efforts have facilitated nearly 350,000 vaccines administered to Idahoans. The COVID-19 emergency declaration will remain in place to continue to support healthcare and local jurisdictions impacted by the coronavirus.

Maintaining an emergency declaration allows the state to continue working with stakeholders through the emergency operations plan, utilize the disaster emergency account to pay expenses incurred in responding to the virus and contract with the federal government to secure critical funding for local jurisdictions.