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More Idaho National Guard troops to help with coronavirus fight

Gov. Brad Little says he will increase the number of soldiers helping with the state's coronavirus response from 250 to 400 to increase vaccine distribution.
Credit: 124th Fighter Wing

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Gov. Brad Little says he will increase the number of Idaho National Guard soldiers helping with the state's coronavirus response from 250 to 400 to increase vaccine distribution.

The Idaho National Guard was initially activated in November to help at hospitals and long-term care facilities across the state in response to a surge in infections. The soldiers have been tasked with mobile COVID testing, screening for the virus, and facility decontamination, among other roles.

Idaho has also sent about 300 guardsmen to Washington D.C. for president-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony. That group did not include any of the members already activated for Idaho's COVID-19 response.

The Republican governor also announced Tuesday new grants for healthcare providers to more quickly administer the vaccine across the state. 

Little says enrolled vaccine providers can use the grants to increase staffing, purchase needed equipment and supplies, and improve vaccine access for hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations. 

He says grant amounts will be based on the number of doses provided.