Behind the scenes look at the Georgia National Guard's command post

From helping distribute meals at the food bank to disinfecting nursing homes, the Georgia National Guard is stepping up to help communities fight the coronavirus.

Governor Kemp visited the temporary hospital soldiers are building inside the Georgia World Congress Center on Thursday.

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"This pandemic has impacted every single person," said Colonel Alex McLemore, the Commander of the 201st Regional Support Group. 

Inside the Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta is a war room against the enemy every Georgian is fighting: the command center for the National Guard teams fighting the coronavirus.

"We've got a plan to respond to a pandemic, but for the most part, it's only been exercised virtually, and never did we imagine it would grow to this size," said Col. McLemore.

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From assisting teams at the Atlanta Community Food Bank to helping medical centers screen people for the virus, the 201st Regional Support Group is lending a hand wherever they can.

"We're trying to fill in the gaps to allow the doctors and nurses to focus more on the patients," said Col. McLemore.

Members of the National Guard are also planning to assist medical professionals at rapid testing facilities when they open across the state.

"We're just working to provide the Governor an added resource to help get the communities to where they feel a little bit safe and secure," said Col. McLemore.

Soldiers are also working tirelessly to disinfect nursing homes and teach the nursing home staff how to properly disinfect themselves and the facilities, so when the soldiers are gone, staff can still protect the elderly.

"That's probably one of the most meaningful projects because they're the most at-risk population here in Georgia," said Corporal John Rader.

But, with fewer soldiers than they typically have available, all of these missions have presented quite a logistical challenge.

"Typically the National Guard, if we run out of supplies, we call on sister states to augment our supplies, but we can't do that here," said Col. McLemore.

What they can do: plan to answer the call of duty wherever it may lead them. 

"The more that people see us, the more that people will understand that we're your neighbors, we're your coworkers, we're your family members, and we are all in this together," said Cpl. Rader.

The National Guard said it has no end date to its mission against the coronavirus. The soldiers will be on hand as long as the virus is impacting communities.

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Know how the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting Georiga

Best prevention measures:

• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds.

• If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces


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