Gov. Greg Abbott has dispatched Texas National Guard troops to help disinfect nursing homes and limit the spread of COVID-19.
“The Texas National Guard plays a crucial role in our ongoing response to COVID-19, and I am grateful for their work to address the unique challenges our nursing homes face during this pandemic,” said Abbott. “The training these guardsmen have received will equip them with the knowledge and tools they need to provide this crucial assistance to these facilities.”
Six of the facilities disinfection teams have been mobilized, and more are due to come online later.
“The Texas National Guard readily accepts this newest mission assignment,” said Major General Tracy Norris. “We take our charge of protecting all Texans, especially our most vulnerable populations, extremely seriously. Our service members have proactively trained for this mission alongside the Health and Human Services Commission and other partner agencies. We stand ready to continue to serve both here at home and abroad in the war fight.”
The disinfection teams consist of guardsmen from Joint Task Force 176, which was formed to help with the COVID-19 response and operates out of Camp Mabry in Austin. Each team is equipped with advanced personal protective equipment, ionized sprayers and vital oxide, a hospital disinfectant. The teams were trained by the Texas Military Department 6th Civil Support Team, which specializes in human-made and natural disaster assessment and rapid responses in hazardous environments.
The announcement about the guard troops follows Monday’s news that Abbott was requiring testing of all nursing home patients and staff.
Almost half of the state’s coronavirus cases have been in nursing homes.
Texas recorded its second-highest number of new cases Wednesday — 1,355.
Cumulatively, there have been 42,403 confirmed cases and 1,158 deaths from COVID-19 in Texas.