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Metro East National Guard activated to support coronavirus response

About 200 Illinois National Guard service members are directly supporting the COVID-19 response
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has activated 60 additional soldiers and airmen to support coronavirus response operations in the state.

About 50 soldiers are based in East St. Louis and will support medical warehouse operations in central Illinois.

Another six service members were activated to work at the Emergency Operations Center to help with communications, analyze COVID-19 response operations and provide analysis for potential flood response operations, according to a press release.

The total number of Illinois National Guard service members directly supporting the COVID-19 response is about 200, with 180 on state active duty.

The Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Airlift Wing Medical Group, based in Peoria, has about 45 nurses, doctors, nurse practitioners and medical technicians assisting the Harwood Heights Community-based testing site.

RELATED: Everything we know about coronavirus in the St. Louis area

About 10 airmen from the 182nd Civil Engineering Squadron, also based in Peoria, have conducted studies of potential healthcare facilities including hotels and shuttered hospitals to help the state build its healthcare capacity, according to the release.

Their findings are being used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to contract work on sites that can be brought back into use.

About 50 soldiers based in East St. Louis are assisting with distribution operations at two warehouses in central Illinois that house medical supplies and equipment. They are working with state and medical officials to ensure those supplies are received and distributed “as quickly and securely as possible to where they are most needed.”

About 20 full-time Air and Army National Guard members based in Peoria are assisting with command and control of National Guard forces at community-based testing sites.

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