OLYMPIA — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is requesting an extension of the state National Guard’s to continue their work on missions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter sent to the Trump administration Monday, the Democratic governor requested an extension of federal authority and funding for the National Guard emergency response operations through December 31, citing the rising cases of coronavirus in the state.
“As the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to climb in our state, it is clear that help from the Washington National Guard remains essential through the end of the year...” Inslee wrote.
In the letter, Inslee notes that currently more than 1,000 guard members are assisting with food banks as well as contact tracing of the pandemic and operating community-based test sites. The National Guard has delivered more than 1.3 million meals — about 33.5 million pounds of food — to food banks across the state, and have tested more than 14,000 people at community-based testing sites.
“They are critical in our efforts to slow the spread of the virus by supporting COVID-mapping missions, assembling test kits, and operating community-based test sites,” Inslee added.
More than 40,600 people have tested positive for the virus, and at least 1,438 have died.