Feds Will Pay to Keep National Guard Active For COVID Response
Federal funding will keep members of the Hawai‘i National Guard (NG) activated through March to provide coronavirus aid throughout the islands.
The Hawai‘i National Guard’s citizen-soldiers and airmen are performing critical missions such as contact tracing, working on mobile swab teams, health education for at-risk populations, screening, food and medical supply distribution, and several others. In addition, the state anticipates the need for the NG’s support in executing COVID-19 vaccination distribution plans.
“The President’s approval of this funding extension will enable the Hawai‘i National Guard to continue to provide much-needed assistance as we respond to this nationwide public health crisis and continue our effort to protect our communities, save lives, and minimize human suffering,” Gov. David Ige said in a release.
It costs approximately $8.5 million per month to fund National Guard emergency assistance activities associated with preventing, mitigating, and responding to the threat to public health and safety posed by the COVID-19 virus. Under 32 U.S.C. 502(f), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Department of Homeland Security will fund 75% of the cost, with the state funding 25% – or about $2 million per month. The funding will cover 800 soldiers and airmen, and the state has the ability to request additional funding for up to 1,300 soldiers and airmen.
Hawai‘i is among 47 states and the territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands to receive the funding extension.