Gov. Jay Inslee sent a letter today to the Trump administration requesting an extension of federal authority and funding for Washington National Guard employment in support of COVID-19 pandemic emergency response operations through March 31, 2020. The current federal funding authorization runs through Dec. 31.
The letter reads, in part:
"As anticipated, Washington State is experiencing a winter surge in positive COVID-19 cases. At the same time, our state is making preparations to efficiently distribute the highly anticipated vaccines. We continue to rely on essential help from the Washington National Guard to ensure an effective response across our state, especially during this critical time.
"Given that, I request the extension of authority and additional funding...for Washington National Guard employment in support of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic emergency response operations."
Currently, more than 800 members of the Washington National Guard are continuing to support the state’s pandemic response, including more than 500 members who are supporting nearly 50 foodbanks across the state. To date, they have assembled and have helped deliver more than 3 million meals, or 62.3 million pounds of food, to struggling families.
Additional Guard personnel continue to help operate community-based test sites and build test kits. Together they have helped test nearly 61,000 individuals and assemble more than 300,000 test kits since the beginning of the pandemic.