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Deployment Of Nevada National Guard For COVID-19 Relief Extended

Soldiers of the Nevada National Guard don personal protective equipment to help with drive-through COVID-19 testing.
Nevada National Guard
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The Nevada National Guard helped with COVID-19 drive-through testing at the Reno Livestock Events Center in April 2020.

Coverage of novel coronavirus is supported by the Mick Hitchcock, Ph.D., Project for Visualizing Science, a science reporting project from the Reynolds School of Journalism.

The deployment of the Nevada National Guard is being extended until mid-August to help with COVID-19 relief efforts. 

The Trump administration is extending the federal deployment of National Guard troops nationwide.

Governor Steve Sisolak activated the Nevada National Guard in early April so they could provide help during the pandemic. Lieutenant Emerson Marcus is a public affairs officer for the guard.

“This has been the largest activation in the guard's history. And right now we've been doing a lot of different missions from distribution, logistics, helping out at the community-based testing sites,” Marcus said, “and one of the governor's key focuses now, and has been, are the vulnerable populations.”

Marcus said the guard has provided assistance at testing sites, distributed food within communities and delivered personal protective equipment at care facilities.

Recently, the guard was called in to help with sanitizing care facilities with confirmed positive cases, including Hearthstone of Northern Nevada, a skilled nursing facility in Sparks, where one resident has died. In Washoe, outbreaks at a few care facilities have resulted in more than half of the COVID-19-related deaths in the county.

“So that's why we would step up and fulfill that role. Target high traffic areas in the nursing homes and assisted living facilities, clean them, sanitize them, and then be done with the mission,” Marcus said. "The guard fulfills a support role. So if the state determines that it's important, then we will, we will come to the call of the governor.”

Trump announced through Twitter that full-time National Guard duty will make troops eligible for federal pay. More than 40,000 National Guard troops have been assisting with the novel coronavirus response nationwide. About 1,100 from the Nevada National Guard have been activated as part of the state’s response to the pandemic.

Anh is a contributing editor for the KUNR news team and has been with the station since 2014. She is an alumna of the Boston University School of Public Health and Teachers College, Columbia University.
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