Dept. of Health Thanks OKARNG as Deployment Ends

Mike Seals - June 28, 2021 11:59 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma National Guard fulfilled a critical, and very important, role throughout the state during the COVID-19 pandemic response. Working with the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), National Guard members provided support with contact tracing efforts, testing clinics, community resources, vaccine operations and staffing. National Guard members will end their assignment and begin to transition out of OSDH operations July 1, 2021. 

“I know I speak for the entire OSDH staff when I say we are beyond grateful for our partnership with the National Guard,” stated Dr. Lance Frye, commissioner of health, Oklahoma State Department of Health. “We could not have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in the way we did without their help.”

Working side-by-side with local nurses and public health staff, National Guard members helped ensure citizens could access testing, prevention recommendations and vaccine. They became part of the OSDH team, allowing for faster response times in Oklahoma communities. 

“As our state faced uncertainty, and an ever-changing response, having the National Guard on our team helped us remain flexible and provided calm leadership,” states Keith Reed, deputy commissioner, Oklahoma State Department of Health. 

OSDH employees across the state are hosting celebrations to honor the National Guard and recognize their hard work and dedication to the people of Oklahoma. 

“It has been a pleasure working with OSDH,” said Col. Bob Walter, Oklahoma National Guard Joint Task Force Commander. “The experiences and relationships gained by our Soldiers and Airmen are invaluable both to the organization and to the individuals. The teamwork and partnership is a testament to Oklahoma’s joint effort and the willingness to work through challenges to serve one another.”

Over their 15-month deployment, the National Guard assisted with: 

  • Direct planning and support of the response through the Multi-Agency Coordination Center 
  • Environmental sanitizing/disinfecting of the LTC centers across the state 
  • Transportation of testing specimens and supplies across the state 
  • Warehouse support related to and delivery of PPE 

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