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Olszewski requests National Guard in Baltimore County for emergency response support to coronavirus

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. has requested the Maryland National Guard to assist in humanitarian and emergency management functions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the executive announced Monday.

“We’ve asked for the guard’s help to support our county’s evolving response to this unprecedented pandemic,” Olszewski said in a statement. “These are neighbors from our communities who are here to support us all during this uncertain time.”

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If the request is approved, National Guard units will assist food distribution at school and recreational facilities, and “provide additional planning and logistical support” for emergency response systems, according to a news release.

More than 2,000 members of the guard are expected to activate statewide after Gov. Larry Hogan on March 5 declared a state of emergency.

Units began mobilizing Friday, serving in various functions around the state, including transporting patients, performing temperature screenings at state facilities, setting up triage tents at hospitals, and supporting the State Emergency Operations Center and a pilot assessment location at FedEx Field in Prince George’s County, Mike Ricci, a spokesman for the governor, told The Baltimore Sun.

Olszewski’s office sought “to share as early as possible the request by the county,” county spokesman Sean Naron said.

A timeline on when residents may start seeing guard members in their areas is unclear, but the county will provide updates “through this evolving process,” Naron said.

Guard units would be staged at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Lutherville-Timonium and deployed to locations across the county as needed, according to a release.

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