By Staff Sgt. Garrett Dipuma, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office
NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana National Guard (LANG), at the direction of Gov. John Bel Edwards, continues to support various coronavirus missions around the state into 2022 as the new variant spreads.
“Our task force has worked through multiple surges since the start of this pandemic. This latest surge of Omicron is more transmissible which has led to a very sharp increase in test site demand throughout the state,” said Brig. Gen. Cindy Haygood, Task Force COVID commander for Louisiana. “Our team quickly answered the call for additional testing sites and a request from the Louisiana Department of Health to work through the holidays. We are very proud of the flexibility of our team and grateful to serve alongside each service member on this task force.”
Currently, approximately 870 Soldiers and Airmen are supporting various missions, including: administering COVID-19 vaccines at 28 sites; administering COVID tests at 31 sites; transporting equipment and vaccines; and providing food bank and warehouse support.
“I know it’s highly contagious and spreading, so I wanted to be extra protected and got the booster,” said Charles Duffy III, a New Orleans resident who got his booster at the Mahalia Jackson Center. “When I got to the vaccine site, it took maybe 10 minutes. Everyone needs to get vaccinated so that we can at least start to get a sense of normalcy.”
As of Jan. 6, Guardsmen have administered more than 542,000 COVID-19 tests and 206,300 vaccines. They have also distributed over 42.4 million pounds of food.