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Georgia National Guard troops help with COVID testing sites

Around 200 troops have been deployed across the state in an effort to help support Georgia's healthcare workers.

ATLANTA — Georgia National Guard soldiers have been deployed and assigned to the state's hospital and testing sites based on "high-need areas" impacted by a recent COVID-19 surge.

Recently, Atlanta has seen long lines wrapped around COVID testing sites for miles. Around 200 troops have been deployed in efforts to help support our healthcare workers.

Georgia National Guard Sgt. Nicholas Craigs said he was ready to answer the call when COVID cases began to rise again. It's the third time he's been called for a mission to help support healthcare workers since the pandemic began.

Craigs has done everything from cleaning rooms at nursing homes to helping administer tests at urgent care facilities. He said he understands people need help. 

"That's why I do it, I would do it for free. Honestly, if it wasn't a paid job, I would still do it," he said. "It gives me some purpose, I want to volunteer and help people. "

Hospitals and healthcare workers have been strained throughout the pandemic and continue to endure another surge of coronavirus cases. 

"Having them on the front lines with our team, and having them be able to respond to what they're used to, which is an emergency, and a crisis. This is an emergency and a crisis. They bring a sense of calmness," WellStar Executive Vice President Dr. Mary Chatman said.  

Chatman said the National Guard came just in time. 

"We need every bit of help we can get to continue to get through this crisis," she said. 

Brigadier Gen. Konata Crumbly said the Georgia National Guard watches the positive rate closely in the state. 

"We expect to get a phone call- sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. But we're very proactive in having people standing by to make sure we have the resources we need to support them," he said. 

They also know Georgia will need their help for a long time to come. 

"As long as DPH, the governor, and GEMA request us to do it, we'll be here," Craigs said.