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    OKNG Supports Community During COVID-19

    OKNG Supports Community During COVID-19

    Photo By Tech. Sgt. Rebecca Imwalle | Oklahoma Army National Guard Spc. Hannah Soto, left, 45th Infantry Brigade combat...... read more read more

    OK, UNITED STATES

    06.01.2020

    Story by Tech. Sgt. Rebecca Imwalle 

    Oklahoma National Guard

    TULSA, Okla. — In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt activated members from the Oklahoma Army and Air National Guard to aid various missions in support of the State’s response to the virus.

    The Oklahoma Army and Air National Guardsmen working across the northeast part of the State have completed more than 450 missions in the first 37 days of being activated. During these missions, they have delivered more than 15,600 COVID-19 test samples to labs and have conducted more than 4,700 virus tests.

    Oklahoma Army National Guard Capt. Jacob Carlson, assistant plans officer, 120th Engineer Battalion, 90th Troop Command, is the officer in charge of the region for COVID-19 support operations.

    “These missions are different because they’re a different type of response than what we are used to,” Carlson said. “It’s not combat or engineer based, but in response to a pandemic which is more medical based. We are assisting the medical fields and health departments in whatever ways are needed.”

    Carlson oversees a team of more than 60 Soldiers and Airmen who work daily missions across Northeast Oklahoma, providing various support capabilities to pandemic response. In addition to conducting tests and delivering completed tests to labs for analyzing, the Guardsmen have contacted more than 1,600 individuals by phone during contact tracing missions.

    “I think all of our missions connect,” Carlson said. “With this pandemic, we don’t know who [may have come] in contact with the virus. Our medics [are] collecting samples and getting people tested, [as wells as] transporting tests to the lab. Our contact tracers are getting ahead of the curve so people can get tested prior to showing symptoms if they have come in contact with someone who has it.”

    Staff Sgt. David Hisaw, 120th Engineer Battalion senior culinary food operations, 90th troop command, is working as the non-commissioned officer in charge of the region and works with Carlson to plan convoys, maintain vehicles and ensure proper sterilization of facilities and supplies.

    “As a [non-commissioned officer], I step up for opportunities like this, because it might encourage younger Soldiers to step up as well,” Hisaw explained. “Being involved in these missions is also a chance for the public to see that the military does more than our deployments overseas, we also assist and help our local communities.”

    When the missions began in April, the main focus was on the courier mission to transport completed COVID-19 tests to the lab to be analyzed. Since then, the duties Soldiers are performing have extended to medical support at testing sites, sterilization of long-term care facilities as well as contact tracing for individuals who have tested positive for the virus.

    Hisaw explained that the biggest take-away he will get from this experience is the awareness of a pandemic, and how many COVID-19 test samples their region was able to transport.

    “I think as a whole, trying to get ahead of this pandemic with [the] three avenues we have been working and helping the health departments and long term care facilities is benefitting our community,” Carlson said.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.01.2020
    Date Posted: 06.17.2020 13:19
    Story ID: 372050
    Location: OK, US

    Web Views: 33
    Downloads: 0
    Podcast Hits: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN