STATEWIDE — More than 500 missions.
Since the coronavirus arrived in the state in mid-March, the Maine National Guard has quietly been called into action again and again.
“We’ve provided almost 42,000 hours of man hours to state agencies over the course of 510 missions over the course of the COVID response,” said Maj. Carl Lamb, public affairs officer for the Maine Army National Guard.
With the recent triple-digit jump in daily virus cases in Maine, some guard members have a new mission.
“With regard to the COVID mapping, we have 13 service members who have been going through about two weeks of training with Maine CDC to be able to be able to perform that mission for them. And we’re anticipating approximately 10 more to come on order here shortly,” Lamb said.
With the influx of cases, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday they will discontinue follow-up calls to those with COVID-19 to focus on providing services to those newly infected.
“We’re simultaneously adding more individuals to our team of contact investigators and contract tracers,” Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said.
He added, “We’ve increased the size of our contract tracing and case investigation force by 40 percent just in the last two week and we are continuing to add individuals.”
In April, Maine guard members went to Tall Pines Retirement and Healthcare Community in Belfast — in the midst of an outbreak — to augment staff there as part of their effort to curb the spread of the illness.
Guard members also have traveled to New Hampshire to get personal protection equipment, delivered respirators to Maine hospitals, set up a triage tent in Augusta at the VA medical center at Togus, and have conducted more than 4,100 mask fit tests.
“We are a unique military component in that we live and work in the community that we also serve, so we’re privileged to be a part of the overall response as Maine takes this on,” Lamb said.