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Idaho National Guard activated to help medical facilities across the state

Idaho Gov. Brad Little mobilized 100 members of the Idaho National Guard to help with staffing issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic at medical facilities in Idaho.

BOISE, Idaho — Gov. Brad Little is mobilizing 100 members of the Idaho National Guard to help out hospitals and long-term care facilities across the state in response to the influx of COVID-19 cases.

Little signed an executive order on Friday to help with Idaho’s response to the pandemic.

The National Guard will help when they are formally requested to do so. Those requests need to come in from the public health districts to the office of emergency management.

“We're anticipating assisting healthcare facilitates, long term care facilities,” Spokesperson Lt. Col. Christopher Borders said.

The guard is prepared to do several tasks to help hospitals overburdened with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Doing things like mobile COVID testing, COVID screening, facility decontamination,” Borders said. “The types of things that we might be able to alleviate from healthcare providers so they can focus on strictly conducting their medical care.”

The activation of the 100 members comes as hospitals across the Gem State are nearing crisis levels. Several hospitals across the state are near capacity while some have had to divert patients away because there was no more room.

“We're spread throughout two dozen different communities across the state,” Borders said. “This support might be needed up north or over in Eastern Idaho.”

The Idaho National Guard was mobilized back in April to assist the state with its response to COVID-19 at that time.

“When Idaho's COVID response started initially, the Idaho National Guard found itself operating in food banks across the state, doing warehouse type operations there,” Borders said.

The 100 members of the Idaho National Guard will be activated for 30 days. The state is funding this by using money from the disaster emergency account.

The order is set to end after that 30 days but could be extended or even rescinded by Gov. Little depending on the situation.

“No matter the mission, the Idaho national guard is a resource capable of providing an effective and professional response,” Commanding General Michael Garshak said.

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