NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana National Guard, as directed by Governor John Bel Edwards, has activated over 300 Soldiers and Airmen so far, not to include full-time Guardsmen, to assist with the COVID-19 response, March 20. The number of Guardsmen activated and equipment utilized is anticipated to increase until the situation is stabilized.
More than 100 Soldiers and Airmen are stationed at three sites in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes to assist local agencies with COVID-19 testing and traffic control support. The drive-through sites opened this morning to test 100 first responders and health care workers who have COVID-19 symptoms at each New Orleans location.
“It has been a great working relationship with Orleans Parish while assisting their tireless efforts to get these sites up and running,” said Col. Scott Desormeaux, the 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team commander tasked with leading the LANG’s efforts in the community based testing sites in New Orleans. “As this is the first day conducting these sites, our goal today is to become more efficient to reduce wait times for people being tested and to ensure the public’s privacy as best we can.”
The Louisiana National Guard has mobilized Guardsmen throughout the state to support current operations, including medical support, engineering assessment support, shelter security, traffic control point and drive-through testing site support and to provide liaison officer teams to Parish Emergency Operations Centers.
In order to assist civil authorities, the LANG is ensuring the health and safety of its Soldiers and Airmen. The LANG is actively taking steps to support health protection in order to maintain mission readiness, such as: limiting non mission-specific travel, educating and enforcing strict CDC-recommended hygiene measures, and monitoring Guardsmen’s temperature readings and overall health on a daily basis.