BALTIMORE – Members of the Maryland National Guard’s 729th Quartermaster Composite Supply Company began delivering COVID-19 test kits as well as KN95 and N95 masks from a Strategic National Stockpile warehouse on Jan. 24, 2022, to Maryland nursing facilities, testing sites, and vaccination clinics run by Maryland’s Vaccine Equity Task Force.
Gov. Larry Hogan announced in a press conference earlier this month that the MDNG will support the Maryland Department of Health with the distribution of 20 million KN95 and N95 masks, which provide additional infection protection compared to cloth and general use face masks.
Photos by U.S. Air National Guard Staff. Sgt. Sarah M. McClanahan, Maryland National Guard Public Affairs Office; U.S. Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Elise Moore, 29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Simultaneously, the MDNG is supporting the distribution of Remdesivir, one of the therapeutic treatments believed to be effective against the Omicron variant, to institutional pharmacies that directly serve skilled nursing facilities across the state.
“The men and women of the Maryland National Guard have been incredible partners throughout the pandemic and have once again stepped up on many fronts to keep Marylanders protected against COVID-19,” said MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “During this latest surge, their contributions with the distribution of COVID masks, tests and antivirals, support at our hospitals and nursing facilities, and so much more across Maryland have been invaluable to our COVID response.”
In addition to mask and Remdesivir distribution, up to 1,000 MDNG members will be supporting MDH with missions for COVID-19 testing and supporting local hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. For many supporting MDNG members, this is a continuation of their service to Maryland communities since the state’s earliest responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I actually always wanted to join the military, but I didn’t know what branch,” said Spc. Marianne Webb, an automated logistics specialist for the 729th QM Composite Supply Co., MDNG, is supporting the state’s COVID-19 response for the second time. “I figured the National Guard would be helpful because I can serve in the community that I grew up in and that’s why this is important to me. It’s definitely very rewarding. I feel like I’m giving back.”
Despite the fact that COVID-19 hospitalizations in Maryland are dropping at one of the fastest rates in the United States, supporting the state’s response is especially critical for immunocompromised and other at-risk Marylanders. Distributing PPE and other medical equipment helps keep them as protected as possible, according to Sgt. Shanay Clay, NCO in charge of the 729th QM Composite Supply Co. troops supporting the distribution mission.
“Personally it feels good,” said Clay. “It feels really good to know that just this one small thing could potentially save a life.”