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Maryland military police support COVID-19 test site in Carroll County

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_gallery type=”nivo” interval=”3″ images=”4214,4213,4212,4208,4207,4206,4205,4204,4202,4201,4211,4210,4209,4203,4200″ img_size=”large”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1589974668833{margin-top: 0px !important;margin-right: 0px !important;margin-bottom: 0px !important;margin-left: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;border-right-width: 0px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;border-left-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;padding-right: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;padding-left: 0px !important;}”]By Maj. Kurt Rauschenberg, Maryland National Guard Public Affairs Office[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1589975109043{margin-top: 0px !important;margin-right: 0px !important;margin-bottom: 0px !important;margin-left: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;border-right-width: 0px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;border-left-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;padding-right: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;padding-left: 0px !important;}”]

A volunteer working at a COVID-19 testing site guides people through the check-in point on May 14, 2020, in Westminster, Maryland.

About 10 Soldiers from the Maryland Army National Guard’s 115th Military Police Battalion began supporting the first state-sponsored, community-based COVID-19 testing site on May 14, 2020, at the Carroll County Agriculture Center.

Under normal circumstances, this Westminster center would be gearing-up for spring and summer community events such as farmer’s markets, tractor pulls, and fairs. This year, however, the Carroll County Agriculture Center will be supporting the community with a different type of service – COVID-19 testing.

As the day came to open the large bay doors to community members in need of COVID-19 testing, a group of medical providers, health planners, and volunteers gathered to get operations underway. However, they were joined with citizen-soldiers from the Maryland National Guard with a responsibility to assist with traffic control, a mission well-known to this particular unit.

Since mid-March, when the MDNG was first activated, the 115th MP Bn. began supporting the state’s first testing site at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, and other subsequent sites. More than 300 Soldiers, eager to help their fellow Marylanders, supported these missions.

“We’ve supported the majority of screening and testing sites throughout the state, which in many ways is the main effort at this stage in the fight [against COVID-19],” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Rob Wille, 115th MP Bn. commander.

Wille says the lessons learned from FedEx Field allowed for more effective and efficient testing throughout the rest of the state, like in Carroll County. Many of the tasks these Soldiers perform at the testing sites are inherent to their military police functions.

“The National Guard is often seen as a reassuring presence, because we’re called on in times of real need or crisis,” Wille said. “In most cases our Soldiers are of the local communities in which they serve, they know the people and the areas.”

In Westminster, the Carroll County Health Department and Board of Commissioners recognized the need to bring these resources to the local community, but it took additional partnerships to form in order to make it happen. Within the local health department are volunteers from Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps, a community-based, civilian, volunteer program; the county Department of Public Safety; Emergency Management; Public Works; and the Sheriff’s Office.

U.S. Army Spc. Charles Hellman, a military police assigned to the 290th Military Police Company, controls traffic at a COVID-19 testing site.

“Our partners appreciate us safely managing the vehicle and pedestrian flow in-and-out of the sites,” said Wille. “The MDNG providing this support allows local resources to focus on all other routine operations, this all helps increase public safety.”

County Commissioner Board President, Stephen Wantz, visited the testing site on its first operational day to personally thank all the partners.

“Having the MDNG on board is a tremendous help with the operation of this new community testing site,” Wantz said. “They are providing an invaluable service to our residents and the region.”

Joining Wantz was the Carroll County Health Officer, Ed Singer, who holds the top position in the local health department and is no stranger to the MDNG.

Singer said the support from the MDNG is extremely helpful, because the Health Department staff is stretched so thin with COVID-19 testing teams, contact tracing, surge planning, PPE management, and more.

Singer served in the MDNG for 15 years from 1987 to 2002 and reflected on serving alongside some family members of the Soldiers at the testing site and others in the MDNG still serving at the forefront of the crisis.

“The National Guard sure is a small world,” said Singer.[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”View photos from the MDNG’s COVID-19 Response” css=”.vc_custom_1589974842667{margin-top: 5px !important;margin-bottom: 5px !important;border-top-width: 5px !important;border-bottom-width: 5px !important;padding-top: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 5px !important;}”][vc_raw_html css=”.vc_custom_1589974859513{margin-top: 0px !important;margin-right: 0px !important;margin-bottom: 0px !important;margin-left: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;border-right-width: 0px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;border-left-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;padding-right: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;padding-left: 0px !important;}”]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[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row]