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Utah National Guard to be called up to help with COVID-19 testing

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Posted at 5:26 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 10:13:44-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah National Guard is being called up to assist with COVID-19 testing.

Major General Jefferson Burton, the acting director of Utah's Department of Health (and former head of the Utah National Guard), announced Wednesday that members of the Guard would be activated.

"They provide expanded capacity to us as we continue to be a leader in testing and tracing across the nation," he told reporters.

Approximately 120 members would be utilized to assist health care workers.

"Their focus will be at our long term care facilities, to do more testing for our health care workers in those facilities. Also to augment our state laboratory to expand capacity there," Gen. Burton said. "And then finally able to help us with rapid response hot spots and reach out to high risk populations."

On Wednesday, Utah reported 5,595 positive cases of COVID-19, an increase of 146 from the day before. Approximately 131,000 people have been tested. The state is reporting 58 fatalities, two more than the day before.