Michigan National Guard set to expand COVID-19 response efforts

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan National Guard will be deploying more guard members to help expand COVID-19 vaccinations and testing across the state.

The state says almost 300 additional guard members will be deployed to support the effort.

Starting Sunday, the MING is planning to set up three more task forces to further help the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and local health departments.

Additional guard member will be assigned to specific regions across the state — northern Michigan, mid-Michigan, western Michigan and southeast Michigan — with a goal of helping areas administer the vaccine at local clinics quickly and efficiently.

“The availability of a COVID-19 vaccine is exciting as this allows us to go on the offensive against this ruthless disease,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “This will help reduce the risk and safeguard Michiganders during this pandemic.”

According to National Guard officials, they plan on continuing stepping up to support the safety of their fellow residents.

“As 2021 begins, we are doubling down on our commitment to the safety of Michigan communities by doing everything we can to make this vaccine as accessible as possible,” said Rogers.

The additional 50 COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Teams will create three additional task forces known as Task Force North, Bronco and Red Lion. Each team includes one medic and two supporting administrative personnel.

They will join Task Force Spartan to ensure Michigan health care agencies have the staff required to deliver the vaccine in their communities.

“We are here to help the state where asked,” said Rogers. “From the city of Detroit to the far reaches of the Upper Peninsula, the Michigan National Guard will continue to assist our communities in this very important mission.”

Michigan is currently in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccination plan, which includes people over the age of 65. As of Saturday, the Michigan National Guard said it had administered almost 32,000 vaccines to Michiganders.

The latest information on the coronavirus outbreak can be found on Michigan.gov/Coronavirusand CDC.gov/Coronavirus. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine.