Pa. National Guard supports federal COVID-19 response teams

Brig. Gen. James McCormack, director of the joint staff, Pennsylvania National Guard, was activated as dual-status commander to provide command and control of federal COVID-19 response teams who arrived in Pennsylvania. PROVIDED PHOTO

ANNVILLE—In support of the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania National Guard activated a dual-status commander Dec. 31 to provide command and control of federal COVID-19 response teams who arrived in Pennsylvania recently.

Brig. Gen. James McCormack, of the PNG, will oversee an active-duty Air Force medical response team in York and a medical assistance team in Scranton. These teams were sent by the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the request of Gov. Tom Wolf.   

“Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers and airmen have been responding to a wide variety of COVID-19 missions across the commonwealth since March 2020,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Schindler, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “These missions demonstrate the responsiveness and flexibility of our service members, who continually step up to serve their communities. I am grateful for the service and sacrifice of all our service members, their families and the employers who support them.”

In addition to this mission, the PNG continues operations in support of long-term care facilities across the commonwealth. Approximately 110 PNG service members are currently activated to assist with staff shortages.

The staffing support teams are a combination of medical providers, medics and general-purpose personnel. The medical personnel assist with non-acute care of patients, such as checking vitals, while the general-purpose personnel assist with tasks such as delivering meals and cleaning.

Since the long-term care facility mission began in April 2020, the PNG has conducted about 140 staffing support missions and provided some form of assistance to more than 130 long-term care facilities. In all, PNG service members have worked more than 14,500 shifts.

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