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How National Guard members are supporting Northeast Georgia Health System in fight against COVID-19
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National Guard medical support members get error prevention training from Northeast Georgia Health System Emergency Preparedness Manager Matthew Crumpton Wednesday, April 1, 2020, at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center. - photo by Scott Rogers

The Georgia National Guard is gearing up to help the Northeast Georgia Health System in the fight against COVID-19.

Several members of the unit based out of Cumming went through an orientation session Wednesday, April 1. The session included information about NGHS locations, communication methods and key personnel, said Matthew Crumpton, the system’s emergency preparedness manager.

“We’re also working to identify the best ways they can assist at this point, while anticipating those assignments may change as the pandemic evolves,” he said.

Crumpton also said he’s “thankful to have (National Guard members) designated to assist it with our COVID-19 response.”

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Northeast Georgia Health System Emergency Preparedness Manager Matthew Crumpton speaks Wednesday, April 1, 2020, to National Guard medical support members on error prevention training during their training to help out at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center locations in Gainesville and Braselton. - photo by Scott Rogers

Desiree Bamba, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Defense, said 10 service members began their mission Friday, March 27, at Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton.

The team is being split “covering both the Gainesville and Braselton campuses,” Bamba said.

The team is made up of a medical practitioner, nurse, three emergency medical technicians and five combat lifesaver certified personnel, she said.

“The mission of the medical assistance team is to support hospital medical staff determined by staff on-site,” she said.

“There is no definitive length of time the guardsmen are activated, as they will serve the mission until no longer needed by the hospital itself or called back by the Georgia National Guard,” Bamba added.

On March 14, Gov. Brian Kemp authorized up to 2,000 Guard members to be activated for service, mobilized to support requests from the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency and Georgia Department of Public Health.

An update of their activities can be found at facebook.com/GeorgiaGuard.

“I am deeply grateful to the men and women of the Georgia National Guard fighting this pandemic,” Kemp said in a statement Friday, March 27. "Working with GEMA, DPH, and our partners in the medical field, the Georgia National Guard is providing critical support in our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its impact on our state.”

No National Guard soldier from Gainesville-based Charlie Company has been activated, Bamba said.

Also, over the next few weeks, Kemp and Georgia National Guard Adjutant General Tom Carden will activate and deploy Guard members to any long-term care facility, assisted living facility or nursing home with COVID-19 cases, Kemp’s office said Tuesday, March 31.

It wasn’t known Wednesday if any have been sent to Hall County centers.

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