Cal Guard Soldiers assist Rapid Assessment Clinic for COVID-19 response in Long Beach

U.S. Army Spc. Aaron Zhong a cryptologic linguist with the California Army National Guard’s 250th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion explains testing procedures to a patient at the rapid assessment clinic at Long Beach City College’s Pacific Coast Campus, Long Beach, California, on April 17, 2020. The California National Guard members are aiding the city of Long Beach with operations of the RAC for COVID-19 response. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Kimberly Hill)
April 30, 2020

LONG BEACH, Calif. —Soldiers with the California Army National Guard’s 315th Vertical Construction Company and the 250th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion, are currently assisting a rapid assessment clinic (RAC) at Long Beach City College’s Pacific Coast Campus to aid in COVID-19 response in Long Beach, California.

“Our mission at the RAC is to assist city health department personnel in operating and supporting a drive-through COVID-19 test site, where the goal is to administer 100 tests daily. Additionally, there is a walk-up clinic aiming to provide much needed relief to local hospitals during this situation,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Yasin Naser, the officer in charge of the RAC team.

The 10 Soldiers, based out of Long Beach and Moreno Valley, are helping direct traffic through the site, aiding local doctors and nurses, verifying appointments, and explaining the testing and scheduling procedures to local patients. The task force also includes two medics assisting the walk-in clinic, responsible for screening patients and taking vitals.

“Having the Guard, especially the two that have supported our RAC efforts has been so amazing, we are so grateful for their humanitarian work and appreciate the support during the COVID-19 efforts,” said Alice Castellanos, the Long Beach Medical Reserve Coordinator

The soldiers with the task force have been activated for COVID-19 response since late March, with many assisting the Find Food Bank in Indio, California, prior to their assignment at the RAC in Long Beach.

“This is one of the prime functions of the National Guard, in any state – supporting our communities with our unique skills and backgrounds, and helping our neighbors get through the rough time of a national or state emergency,” said Staff Sgt. Hodges, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the RAC team.

While COVID-19 has forced most of the country to shelter in place, Cal Guard members called to duty like the RAC task force are mitigating their risk with proper protective equipment like masks, gloves, and medical gowns, so that they may continue to aid their own local communities in their time of need, said Hodges.

“It gives me a great sense of pride knowing that I’m doing what I can to help people during this challenging time in our country,” said Hodges