Members of the Michigan National Guard are helping FEMA establish a federal medical station for COVID-19 patients at TCF Center in Detroit.
The ad hoc medical station is a place to receive COVID-19 patients if hospitals become overwhelmed. It supports a 1,000-bed alternate care site also being established at the TCF Center in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan expressed their gratitude in a Wednesday release. Duggan said transitioning TFC Center into an emergency medical site is “absolutely necessary to protect the health of the residents of Michigan.”
The city of Detroit alone accounts for 27% of statewide COVID-19 cases — 2,080 total, as of Tuesday. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases reached 7,615 Tuesday, with deaths rising to 259, and set a record for the most cases found in a single day since the outbreak was discovered on March 10.
“The State of Michigan is thankful for the sustaining presence of the men and women of the Michigan National Guard as we continue our work to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said. “The National Guard is a team of dedicated Michigan citizens invested as partners in navigating challenges that face our communities like COVID-19.”
The Michigan Army National Guard is a reservist unit that is part of the Michigan National Guard and dedicated to state concerns.
President Donald Trump authorized the use of National Guardsmen Monday, granting Whitmer’s request to allocate up to 3,000 members of the Michigan Army and Air National Guard to perform humanitarian missions for up to 90 days. Trump also authorized requests from governors in Connecticut, Illinois and Masachusetts.
The president said Monday that 14,000 National Guardsmen have been activated across the country.
Members of the Michigan National Guard, under Whitmer’s authority, will help run mobile screening facilities, distribute food and medical supplies, ensure the resiliency of supply lines, disinfect public spaces, and support public safety as needed, according to a release. FEMA will cover the full cost of emergency assistance activities.
“The Michigan National Guard is ready and eager to assist Governor Whitmer as she works to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our state,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, Adjutant General and Director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “The Michigan National Guard stands ready to support Detroit in its fight against COVID-19.”
The Michigan National Guard has been involved in the state’s COVID-19 response since March 18, the same day Michigan’s first death was linked to the coronavirus.
Guardsmen have already been providing logistics support to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services by assembling and loading critical personal protective gear like gowns and face shields.
National Guardsmen are also assisting food banks in four communities across the state, including Ann Arbor, Comstock Park, Flint, and Pontiac. Support to the food banks is expected to continue through mid-April, according to the governor’s office.
Members of the Michigan National Guard are also assisting the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette.
CORONAVIRUS PREVENTION TIPS
In addition to washing hands regularly and not touching your face, officials recommend practicing social distancing, assuming anyone may be carrying the virus. Health officials say you should be staying at least 6 feet away from others and working from home, if possible. Carry hand sanitizer with you, and use disinfecting wipes or disinfecting spray cleaners on frequently-touched surfaces in your home ( door handles, faucets, countertops ) and when you go into places like stores.
© 2020 MLive.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.