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    Nevada Guard supports county health districts ramp up vaccination efforts

    Nevada Guard supports county health districts ramp up vaccination efforts

    Photo By 1st Lt. Emerson Marcus | The Nevada National Guard ramped up operations at community based collection sites...... read more read more



    Story by 1st Lt. Emerson Marcus 

    152nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

    The Nevada National Guard ramped up operations this week at community based collection sites around the state in support of county health districts — not just for testing as it has done since last April, but now also for vaccination distribution.

    “As we see a decline in demand for testing and a spike for vaccinations, we are beginning to convert our operations to meet that demand,” said Capt. Titus Roberson, officer in charge at Washoe County’s testing site at the Livestock Events Center in Reno.

    Similar drive-thru operations include the Cashman Center in Las Vegas, the state’s largest site dedicated solely to vaccinations. Nevadans wanting vaccinations must make appointments through their county health district before arrival at each site. Availability is based on tier status of each county health district.

    Guardsmen began assisting Washoe County with vaccinations on Wednesday and continued operations Friday. The goal is to eventually get to a point where the health district distributes up to 2,400 vaccinations per day in Washoe County, said Mast Sgt. Michael Link, non-commissioned officer in charge at the Livestock Events Center testing and vaccination site.

    “Vaccination is the way forward to get back to any sort of normalcy,” said Link, who has worked at the testing site since last April. Link, a traditional or part-time Guardsmen with the 152nd Civil Engineer Squadron, temporarily left his full-time employment last year working facilities and grounds maintenance at the Truckee Meadows Water Authority.

    “TMWA (my employer) has been completely supportive of me leaving to help with the testing and vaccination missions here at Livestock Events Center,” Link said. “They understand how important this is for our community.”

    Roberson, who temporarily left his full-time employment in September at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, said he began noticing a decrease in testing demand with an increase for vaccinations in mid-December. That's when county personnel began vaccinations for medical professionals and first responders. With the demand in vaccinations, Guardsmen have seen their role increase as well. On Friday, two lanes were open for drive-thru testing while four were open for vaccinations.

    In Washoe County, that currently includes educators in the Washoe County School District. Citizens aged 70-and-up are expected to begin vaccinations later this month, Roberson said. About 60 Nevada Army and Air Guardsmen are working at the Washoe County site for testing, vaccinations, contact tracing and at call centers. About 400 Nevada Guardsmen remain activated statewide for the Nevada's COVID-19 response, down from the peak last summer when about 1,200 were activated.

    “It’s been a smooth transition with the infrastructure already in place for testing,” Roberson said. “Aside from needles in arms versus collection of swabs for testing, much of the operation has remained in place. Of course, the demand has increased as more members of the community want to get vaccinated to help us get through this pandemic.”



    Date Taken: 01.15.2021
    Date Posted: 01.15.2021 15:48
    Story ID: 387053
    Location: RENO, NV, US 

    Web Views: 217
    Downloads: 2