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Oklahoma National Guard Adds More Response Teams For Virus Assistance To Nursing Homes: General

Tech. Sgt. Kasey M. Phipps
Courtesy Oklahoma Air National Guard
The Oklahoma National Guard at work disinfecting a longterm care facility in McAlester on April 22nd.

The head of the Oklahoma National Guard said Wednesday that the Guard will ramp up its mission to provide assistance to the state's nursing homes and longterm health care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We started out with two teams that were going out to disinfect nursing home facilities across Oklahoma," said Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson, the adjutant general of the Guard. "I think those teams have grown to four, and potentially might go a little higher because you know that's an incredibly vulnerable population we have with our elderly citizens."

"I went and visited [a facility] in Muskogee last week," Thompson said. "Our guys were all kitted up in these disposable protection suits, and they are cleaning every surface there is. It's been a big part of helping keeping that spread down."

Governor Kevin Stitt activated the Guard earlier this month to assist in facilities across the state. At least 86 deaths have been linked to nursing homes and longterm care facilities across the state.

Oklahoma Deputy Secretary of Health and Mental Health Carter Kimble said this week that the state aims to test each of the roughly 42,000 staff members and residents of those facilities for the novel coronavirus, using a new saliva-based testing method.

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