After leading the charge in the fight against COVID-19 in major Nevada cities, National Guard soldiers with Task Force 17 have shifted their focus to helping out rural Lincoln County residents.
The Lincoln County Health Department’s Emergency Management Office put in a request for National Guard support for community-based collection sites at the county’s Alamo and Lincoln high schools.
Fifteen soldiers with Task Force 17 and five with Task Force Med supported the Alamo collection site mission by testing more than 20 patients. They tested three times as many people the following day at the Lincoln High School site.
Army Pvt. Cheyann Harley, assigned to Task Force Med, not only enjoyed the cooler temperatures that came with being in rural Nevada, but also expressed her enthusiasm about helping during this mission.
“I think it’s good to be able to get out and help the smaller towns that may not have the support a big city like Las Vegas has,” she said.
The Lincoln County Fire Department was on duty for support and also provided all the tents, tables and equipment to run the site. The local emergency management office provided most of the personal protective equipment to the soldiers.
Patients pull in and are met by the guardsmen, who help to process their registration. Soldiers verify patient identification and use that information in the sample log. From there, the medics instruct the people on how to collect the sample themselves. Once it’s collected, they hold the bio-bag open for the patient to place the sealed sample into.
“The patient will keep some paperwork, and the other copy will go to the emergency management personnel from Lincoln County that are here today,” Army Staff Sgt. Keith Linford said. “The emergency management office will call every patient, and usually they will get notified in about 24 to 48 hours about the results — whether they test positive or negative.”
The White Pine Community Health Office sent personnel to the sites to observe and get an idea of how to set up and run testing operations. They will be coordinating their own locations in the weeks to come.
“It’s good,” Linford said about the mission. “I feel like we’re helping and making a difference, even in rural Nevada.”
DON'T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE
Get the latest news from Desert Lightning News at Nellis & Creech AFB