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Active duty Utah National Guardsmen working from home in virus effort

Parachute riggers at Camp Williams are making face masks. (Photo credit: Utah National Guard)

DRAPER — Dozens of Utah National Guard soldiers and airmen are helping the state of Utah respond to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Some of them were called up to active duty, but have to remain home because of social distancing guidelines.

“We have about 20 soldiers working on a traceback mission for COVID-19,” said Lt. Col. D.J. Gibb in an interview with KSL Newsradio.

They are working with the Utah Department of Health, contacting civilians who have tested positive or who are showing symptoms. Those 20 soldiers were called up to active duty, and are serving at home.

PARACHUTE RIGGERS

Others, like 12 parachute riggers from the 19th Special Forces group, are simply changing their duties. That group is making face masks to follow recent Department of Defense guidance on the use of face coverings.

“Our goal right now is to build about 2,000 face masks for our members here in the National Guard,” said Lt. Col. Gibb.

UTAH NATIONAL GUARD TRANSLATION SERVICES

Soldiers in the traceback mission come from the 310th Military Intelligence Brigade, which is also providing linguists.

“One of the first missions that we had was putting about 20 linguists to work translating COVID-19 documents so that others in the state that didn’t speak English could access the information,” said Lt. Col. Gibb.

The Guard says translations include Spanish, Arabic, Nepali, Russian, Karen, French, Chinese, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Burmese, Farsi and Korean.

MORE HELP FROM THE UTAH NATIONAL GUARD

Members of the 151st Air Refueling Wing helped load humanitarian relief onto an Ecuadorian cargo aircraft last week. It was arranged by Utah-based Charity Anywhere.

Seven others are helping the Utah Emergency Operations Center with logistics and planning. Two members of the 85th Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Team are embedded with the Governor’s task force.

“These soldiers and airmen bring significant skill to this challenge and are at their best when they are supporting their fellow Utahns,” said Brig. Gen. Michael J. Turley in a news release.

“We stand ready to help our state, by helping our neighbors.”

 

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus 

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading: 

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.  
  • Don’t touch your face. 
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet) 
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.) 
  • Get a flu shot. 

Resources for more information: 

State of Utah:  https://coronavirus.utah.gov/ 

Utah State Board of Education 

Utah Hospital Association 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization 

Cases in the United States