SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah National Guard's COVID-19 Joint Task Force announced they will "relinquish its support" after supporting the state for two years in fighting the coronavirus.
The decision to pull back comes as COVID-19 case counts and positivity rates continue to decrease and Utah begins to transition to a "Steady State."
“Whenever there’s a need, the Utah National Guard heeds the call without hesitation,” said Governor Spencer Cox in a press release. “We can’t thank them enough for their professionalism helping with the state’s COVID-19 response, from testing to vaccinations to facilities. We salute them for a job well done.”
The mission was one of the longest domestic support missions in the history of the Utah National Guard, with more than 728 soldiers and airmen stepping in to support the mission since it's start date in March 2020.
National Guard members helped with COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, contact tracing, logisitical and medical support, and acted as operational planners during the mission.
With the help of soldiers and airmen, 207,198 vaccinations have been given, 460,387 COVID-19 tests have been administered and about 67 million items of personal protective equipment have been processed. About 142,000 man hours have been dedicated to supporting the state of Utah is responding to COVID-19, the National Guard reports.
“The goal of the Utah National Guard is to provide mission-ready forces to assist the state during times of crisis," said Brig. Gen. Darwin Craig, director of joint staff, Utah National Guard. "We are proud to have served with Utahns who are professional and competent in delivering care to Utah's great citizens.”
Officials with the Utah National Guard believed the mission allowed them to have an even more present role in the community and showed that their 7,300 trained citizen-Soldiers and Airmen are, "are always ready to support emergencies and operations worldwide."