Idaho National Guard will help again during pandemic
BOISE, Idaho – Earlier this week Governor Brad Little has mobilized the Idaho National Guard to assist in the state’s response to COVID-19, 150 staff will be made available to assist in the healthcare sector as cases continue to rise and hospitals are filling up.
The primary purpose of on-call members is to help with logistics, administration and other tasks so that healthcare professionals can focus on treating patients.
“Some of the functions you can expect to see our uniformed guards performing in the different health facilities are drive-thru testing, vaccine screening, they can do general lab work and enter data,” said the Lieutenant Colonel. Christopher Borders of the Idaho National Guard. “The men and women of the Idaho National Guard are your friends, neighbors and family, we sign up to support our community in times of crisis and that’s what we do.”
The Idaho National Guard has its own doctors and nurses and we wondered why these medical professionals had not been activated.
“Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, Governor Little and General Garshak have been very clear that any guard activation will not affect Idaho Guard medical professionals,” Borders said. . “It’s important to remember how the National Guard works.”
The members of the guard show up for work one weekend a month, two weeks a year and Borders told us it made no sense to activate the doctors and nurses who work in the guard because they work already as such on the civilian side.
“It wouldn’t make sense to take them out of their civilian capacity just to turn them over and put them back in these facilities as doctors on call and nurses,” Borders said.
Idaho is receiving a medical response team of 20 active-duty doctors and nurses from the Department of Defense and they will head north for the handshake that is dangerously close to crisis care standards.
Idaho also hopes to recruit 200 more medical and administrative personnel under a state contract with the US General Services Administration.