INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana National Guard will join the battle against COVID-19 next week.
On Friday, the Indiana National Guard soldiers started training at Camp Atterbury for their mission to help the state fight the coronavirus inside nursing homes.
Gov. Eric Holcomb, R-Indiana, ordered the deployment on Wednesday. The Guardsmen will mobilize into teams spread out to 133 of the state's hardest-hit long-term care facilities. Starting Monday, 399 guard members will work in more than 130 long-term care facilities.
Over the next three weeks, the National Guard will broaden its support to all 534 of Indiana's long-term care facilities.
In total, 1,350 Guardsmen will be working seven days a week in the facilities through the end of December. The Indiana State Health Department will provide the soldiers with scrubs and personal protective equipment that includes masks, gloves, goggles, and gowns.
“They’re going to help the staff through things like wellness checks at entrance points, taking temperatures, monitoring compliance for a CDC guidelines, helping to sanitize compartments, those kinds of things that will actually allow the staff to focus their energy and effort on our most vulnerable population," Indiana's Adjutant General, Brig. Gen. Dale Lyles told WRTV.
The National Guard's ultimate purpose here is to help nursing home employees focus exclusively on their patients.
“We’re to help people, so we have to understand the people we are helping, the situations they are in, so we can help them to the best of our abilities and support the CDC," Andrew Williamson, a Nation Guard soldier, said.
According to the state, soldiers will be tested for COVID-19 before they are placed in a facility and will continue to be tested during their assignment.