Adjutant General of the State of Illinois, Brig. Gen. Richard R. Neely addressed rumors during today’s COVID-19 press conference regarding the role the National Guard plays in the pandemic. General Neely stressed the importance the Guard plays in providing crucial logistical experience during times of crisis.
“We are not doing any policing action; we’re not doing any kind of work at all like that. What we are doing is supporting testing within the Rosemont area this week. We just put up a new testing facility. We have 100 personnel taking care of testing.” General Neely explained. “Today they started with the First Responders. They started testing them early this morning to get them through and make sure that they’re good to go on their test. They’re opening more and more of them up to the Public as we go forward.”
“They’re also supporting, as the Governor talked about, PPE, personal protective equipment, they’re also supporting, accounting for that distribution as we get more and more of that coming in. As the Governor talked about, the large orders coming in, they will be helping warehouse that. They’ll package that up; they’ll ship that out, along with the Illinois Department of Transportation.”
National Guard will be working with a number of organizations to logistically distribute PPE throughout the State of Illinois. General Neely also explained the guard’s role in reopening some recently closed hospitals to expand room for future COVID-19 cases.
“We’re going in with our specialized engineering team that we have out of our Civil Engineering team, out of the International Guard, and they’re going around the State assessing hospitals that had been closed down previously that maybe, provide additional capacity. So they’re actually looking at the heating, the plumbing at those facilities and identifying which ones are easy to quickly turn on if we need that additional capacity.” the General explained today.
Illinois announced earlier cases of COVID-19 had expanded to over 1,200 in the State, including 12 deaths since the pandemic began. That number is expected to climb substantially.