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Indiana National Guard to leave Indiana nursing homes by March 15

Guardsmen had been helping since November
Indiana National Guard.jpg
Posted at 5:02 PM, Jan 27, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS — This weekend, the Indiana National Guard will begin its departure from Indiana nursing homes.

The state deployed National Guard members on Nov. 2 to 133 long term care facilities throughout the state.

Guard members have been helping with screening visitors, taking temperatures, data entry, disinfecting high touch areas, and delivering food and water.

On Wednesday, state health officials announced their goal is for guard members to stay through each facility’s second vaccine clinic.

The process will begin Sunday with the goal of removing all guard members from nursing homes by March 15.

"The work of these soldiers has boosted morale, helped free up staff to provide clinical care, and has no doubt when combined with other efforts, saved lives,” said Dr. Dan Rusyniak, chief medical officer at the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. “To the General, to all his commanders and the brave men and women of the National Guard, we owe you a debt of gratitude and our sincere thanks and appreciation."

Most National Guard members are expected to return to civilian employment or head to other critical missions.

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The state had originally planned to pull guardsmen out on Dec. 31, but opted to extend their service into January.

“This level of support was critical for our providers who have been at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and have performed heroic efforts to protect the elderly population.” Zach Cattell, president of the Indiana Health Care Association/Indiana Center for Assisted Living, said in a statement. “The Indiana National Guard deployment enabled the clinical leadership and staff at LTC facilities to focus their time delivering person-centered care to our residents.”