COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio National Guard said Monday it has scaled back its emergency response efforts to COVID-19 around the state but will maintain a "small, yet flexible, response force."
According to the ONG, emergency reponse teams were first deployed in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic. More than 4,000 service members have been deployed to support around 70 missions and programs across the state.
ONG members helped provide more than 360,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as the distribution of more than 150 million pounds of food to nearly 3 million Ohioans. Soldiers also provided medical staffing to more than two dozen long-term care facilities in Ohio.
"In the tradition of the minuteman, each Soldier and Airman who contributed to the missions while helping their fellow Ohioans did so with little or no notice. It is part of our organization’s DNA to always be ready,” said Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., Ohio adjutant general. “The COVID-19 response mission has affirmed and strengthened their commitment to support this great state and its people."
During the height of the pandemic, around 1,000 service members were deployed to help. Most recently, that number has been redueced to less than 200 individuals. By July 30, there will be about 40 members who will continue to provide support, the ONG said.
"While we are scaling back the COVID-19 response, we remain ready to support vaccination efforts and any additional needs the state may have in the continued fight against this virus,” Ohio Air National Guard Col. Gregg J. Hesterman said.
Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.