Minnesota National Guard prepares to support COVID-19 testing sites

October 15, 2021 (ST. PAUL, Minn.) – Seventy-five soldiers and airmen from the Minnesota National Guard are preparing to support the state’s COVID-19 response efforts starting Monday.
“The Minnesota National Guard’s motto is ‘Always Ready, Always There’ and demonstrates our commitment to support Minnesota citizens,” said Army Maj. Gen. Shawn Manke, Minnesota National Guard’s Adjutant General. “We have supported public health activities since March 2020 with varying levels of personnel and activities and are prepared to do so, again.”
“On Wednesday, Governor Walz requested Minnesota National Guard support for community-based testing sites in the metro and outstate locations,” said Army Col. Scott Rohweder, Minnesota National Guard’s Director of Operations. “The service members will be broken into seven teams assisting civil authorities at various sites with conducting testing facility management, performing administrative tasks, and administering COVID-19 tests.”
From March 2020 until Sept. 2021, the Minnesota National Guard mobilized nearly 970 service members to support the state’s health emergency plan. During the mobilization, Minnesota’s citizen-soldiers and airmen supported community-based COVID-19 testing activities at 45 different sites across the state, testing nearly 350,000 people from May 2020 through June 2021. These service members supported vaccination activities at 12 sites administering 10,500 COVID-19 vaccinations from January to May 2021. One hundred and twenty medical personnel conducted nasal testing in 280 long-term care facilities for more than 72,000 residents and staff. The Minnesota National Guard trained 413 temporary nursing assistants and augmented 22 long-term care facilities that experienced COVID-19 outbreaks amongst the staff between October 2020 and January 2021.
The Minnesota National Guard provided support to Minnesota’s Public Health System by transporting vaccines from the Twin Cities to communities outside the metro area. Additionally, service members supported the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Education by distributing 98,000 COVID-19 test kits across the state for distributed educator and student testing.

About the Minnesota National Guard
Established in 1856 and headquartered in St. Paul, the Minnesota National Guard has more than 13,000 soldiers and airmen who serve in 58 communities across the state. The citizen-soldiers and airmen of the Minnesota National Guard are ‘Always Ready’ to fight the nation’s wars, protect the country, respond to state emergencies and contribute to local communities. News, insights and perspectives from the Minnesota National Guard are available at MinnesotaNationalGuard.ng.mil.