Advance Notice: Briefs

National Guard OK’d to perform humanitarian missions in Michigan

By: - March 30, 2020 4:14 pm

Susan J. Demas

President Donald Trump granted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s request to order members of the Michigan Army and Air National Guard to perform humanitarian missions across the state during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Up to 3,000 members of Michigan’s National Guard, under the governor’s command and control, will help out by running mobile screening facilities, distributing food and medical supplies, ensuring resiliency of supply lines, disinfecting public spaces and supporting public safety.

“This is good news for Michiganders everywhere who are worried about COVID-19’s impact on their community,” said Whitmer. “Now, our dedicated National Guardsmen and women can help ensure access to meals for families who need them, or medical supplies for our health care professionals. They’ll help us get Michiganders tested and keep our public places clean.”

Michigan has the fourth-most cases of COVID-19 in the nation and the number of cases continues to rise. 

As of Monday at 3 p.m., the state reports 184 people have died and there are 6,498 known positive cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by a new coronavirus, although state officials believe the actual number of cases is much higher. 

Whitmer first requested assistance from the National Guard on March 18. On Monday, the governor wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper outlining how Michigan meets the required criteria for the federal support.

“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. “Our number one priority is protecting Michigan families from harm, and the federal government’s action today will help us do just that.”

On Friday, Trump granted Michigan a major disaster declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which included additional funding to the state to set up field hospitals or other health care facilities, and provide assistance for meals, housing relief and mental health services.

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue is a former Michigan Advance reporter who covered education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.