New Jersey Air National Guard supports COVID-19 response
By Airman 1st Class Andrea Williamson, 108th Wing
/ Published March 20, 2020
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. --
Twenty-two New Jersey Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 108th Wing in-processed on State Active Duty orders on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., March 19, 2020. The Airmen will be assisting state and local authorities with COVID-19 response operations.
“Yesterday, they in-processed and today they will head to Sea Girt [National Guard Training Center] for specific mission briefs, rules of engagement, and a run-through,” said Chief Master Sgt. Lance Endee, 108th Wing Security Forces manager.
Members will provide traffic control and security for a COVID-19 Community-Based Testing Site at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J. The testing site, established in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will be staffed by the New Jersey Department of Health, the New Jersey State Police, and the New Jersey National Guard.
The volunteers, mostly composed of Security Forces Airmen, will team up with eighteen Air Guardsmen assigned to the 177th Fighter Wing, from Atlantic City Air National Guard Base in Egg Harbor Township, N.J.
“Expanding access to testing is critical in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and flattening the curve in New Jersey,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “I am grateful to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for their swift response in fulfilling our request for specimen collection kits and personal protective equipment so that we can successfully offer expansive drive-thru testing in New Jersey.”
“I am really proud of the men and women of the 108th Wing for stepping up at a moment’s notice, to support our state mission,” said Endee.
Community-Based Testing Sites are for individuals who are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness. Individuals who are not symptomatic will not be tested, as it diverts critical resources such as testing kits and laboratory materials from those who are ill. Each site will be provided with an allocation of 2,500 specimen collection kits and Personal Protective Equipment for all staff. The specimen collections will be transmitted to the contracted laboratory twice per day and results will be reported within 2-5 business days. Testing is free and will be covered by the federal government or personal insurance company. Individuals are encouraged to bring insurance cards if they have one.