Guard Sees Increase in COVID-19 Cases

The Guard has begun to see COVID-19 cases among civilians, contractors, and dependents, National Guard Bureau Chief Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel confirmed on April 8.

In addition to 349 cases reported among Guard personnel as of the afternoon briefing, Lengyel said four civilians, three contractors, and 13 dependents have tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The actual number of infected individuals from those populations might be higher than the Guard statistics reflect, he added.

“You know, those numbers sound a little bit low to me, so I would suspect that those are just ones who have been tested,” he noted.

As of the morning of April 7, 73 cases of the new coronavirus had been reported among Air National Guard personnel, National Guard spokesman Master Sgt. W. Michael Houk told Air Force Magazine via email.

The Defense Department has detailed how COVID-19 case totals break down between service members, dependents, civilians, and contractors in daily updates shared with the media. But while these updates have included NGB personnel case totals, they haven’t included information about how the pandemic has impacted non-service members within the Guard community.

Almost 28,400 personnel have been activated to fight the COVID-19 virus as of April 8, with about 11,000 doing so under Title 32 orders, Lengyel said.

He noted that Guard personnel account for approximately three-quarters of all U.S. troops fighting COVID-19.