Local Guardsman help with Call Center

Kentucky National Guard Soldiers and Airmen augment the COVID-19 Call Center to manage data collection and case management Mar. 31. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Alan Royalty)

By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Crane, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky National Guard is helping at the COVID-19 call center to manage data collection and case management starting Mar. 31.

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Soldiers with the 1163rd Area Support Medical Company and Airmen with the 123rd Medical Group will provide data entry services, coordinate with testing laboratories, and calls to check up on quarantined COVID-19 patients on behalf of the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.

“Having the National Guard here has started paying huge dividends,” said Navy Capt. Douglas Thoroughman, the acting state epidemiologist. “Governor Beshear has asked for some very specific information, such as detailed information from labs testing for COVID-19 in Kentucky and daily patient disposition of our Kentucky cases; I have been able to task two groups of our Guard contingent with coordinating and executing these efforts so that other staff can focus on the huge surveillance and investigation needs of this response.” 

Answering phones or imputing important information allows for the full time staff to get time off and gives them a chance to recharge.

“They are also manning positions in our clinician call center so that we can spell out some of the exhausted public health staff who have been doing this around the clock for the last three weeks,” added Thoroughman.

Getting a chance to help in the fight against the global pandemic, the Soldiers are excited to do their part.

“It is very rewarding being able to quickly respond to help the needs of the people of Kentucky,” said Sgt. Jacob Tarrence, with the 1163rd. “I joined the National Guard to be able to help out fellow Kentuckians in a time of need so it has been great to be able to do that. I’m glad I will be able to tell my daughter Hazel that her dad worked hard to help flatten the curve. I’m proud to be a part of ‘Team Kentucky’.”

Kentucky National Guard Soldiers and Airmen augment the COVID-19 Call Center to manage data collection and case management Mar. 31. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Alan Royalty)

Thoroughman also wants Soldiers who aren’t currently in the fight to know that the best thing they can do to help out is to do what the Governor is asking and focus on social distancing from others, covering coughs and sneezes, don’t gather with groups of people, stay home if sick, and stay away from public places as much as possible.

“The best thing about working with the Guard is that they have a ‘can do’ attitude,” said Thoroughman. “When I give them task they set to it with the mental orientation that basically the job is already completed, just let them get at it!”

The Kentucky National Guard has more than 200 Soldiers and Airmen on duty in support of the COVID-19 response. Over 19,000 National Guardsman across the United States have stepped up to help during this time of need.

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