NEWS | March 31, 2020

Kentucky Guardsman help with call center

By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Crane, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

Kentucky National Guard Soldiers with the 1163rd Medical Company and Airmen with the 123rd Medical Group augment the COVID-19 Call Center to manage data collection and case management Mar. 31.

Guardsmen provided data entry services, coordinated with testing laboratories, and called 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 themselves 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.

Thoroughman also wants Soldiers who aren’t able to 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!”

Over 18 thousand National Guardsman have now stepped up to help during this time of need across the United States and its territories.

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