Inslee requests extension of National Guard support for the pandemic

Image Credit: The Office of Washington Governor Jay Inslee

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Today Gov. Jay Inslee wrote a letter to the Trump administration asking for an extension of federal authority and funding for Washington National Guard employment, who are currently assisting with the COVID-19 pandemic response. Current federal funding authorization runs through Dec. 31.

The letter reads, in part:

“As anticipated, Washington State is experiencing a winter surge in positive COVID-19 cases. At the same time, our state is making preparations to efficiently distribute the highly anticipated vaccines. We continue to rely on essential help from the Washington National Guard to ensure an effective response across our state, especially during this critical time.”

Right now more than 800 members of the Washington National Guard are a part of the state’s pandemic response.

Over 500 of those members are working in 50 food banks across the state. To date, they have helped deliver 62.3 million pounds of food to struggling families. Other Guard members help operate community-based test sites and build test kits. Together they have helped test nearly 61,000 individuals and assemble more than 300,000 test kits since the beginning of the pandemic.

Idaho’s Gov. Brad Little is also taking precautionary steps by moving the state back to Phase 2 and is calling up the National Guard to help with relief efforts.