The National Guard announced Friday that it is deploying 1,000 troops across six states by the end of the day as part of the national response to the coronavirus pandemic.
A statement said that as of Friday morning, 400 Air and Army National Guard personnel were present in six states — Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, New York, Rhode Island and Washington — having been requested at the direction of their respective governors.
The National Guard Bureau serves as a national coordinating agency if a state needs assistance from the National Guard present in another state.
“By the end of the day we expect that number to approach 1,000,” it said in a statement.
So far 33 states have declared emergencies in response to the spread of the virus, and President Trump was expected to declare a national emergency on Friday afternoon. The announcement comes as major sporting and other events are called off or postponed, businesses across the country institute telework policies, government buildings and schools shutter, and other disruptions rock the nation amid efforts to curb the transmission of the virus.
National Guard personnel stand beside a line of motorists waiting for COVID-19 coronavirus infection testing at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle, N.Y., on Friday, March 13, 2020, (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
More than 1,600 Americans have tested positive for the virus, and experts expect that number to rise significantly. So far 41 people have died in the U.S.
The Guard said in the statement that members are being trained on responding to the virus, including identifying and preparing facilities for isolation housing and compiling medical supplies.
“The National Guard’s first priority is to protect our people while saving lives. National Guard personnel will provide assistance to the states that include logistical support, disinfection/cleaning, activate/conduct transportation of medical personnel, call center support, and meal delivery,” the statement said.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.