LAS VEGAS – Southern Nevadan Soldiers and Airmen have combined their best and brightest in Las Vegas to battle COVID-19 at two community-based collection sites (CBCS).There are multiple missions across the Silver State with roughly 653 Guard members on three southern task forces. About 431 members of the Guard have joined the fight in northern Nevada. These men and women have turned in their weapons and armor for masks and scrubs in the largest state activation in Nevada Army National Guard history.Soldiers and Airmen with Task Force (TF) Medical began their collaboration with civilian medical professionals at the University of Nevada School of Medicine – Las Vegas patient care center over a week ago.The officer in charge of the CBCS team at UNLV, 1st Lt. Caleena Longworth, explained the specimen collection process.“When they pull up, they’ll meet with the specimen collection team. It consists of one civilian medical assistant who will be taking the patient’s vital signs and will do the swabbing and a medic who is with the National Guard. That individual will be checking the ID to make sure it matches and relaying the vital signs to the administration tent to be placed in the chart. The military medic doesn’t have direct contact with the patient.”Longworth said UNLV medical staff “already know what they’re doing; they’ve been doing this for five weeks and make our job easy. We basically augment and help them with the mission; they already worked out the kinks.”Dr. Elissa Palmer, professor and chair of family medicine at the UNLV School of Medicine, has been working alongside the Nevada Guard members for nearly two weeks.“I just think it’s an amazing collaboration with the Guard. We learn more efficient ways of doing things together. We were doing about 250 patients per day, but with the National Guard here, we’ve been able to do more,” Palmer said.The CBCS at UNLV serves patients with appointments eight hours a day.“They’ll go through a screening process with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines,” Palmer said. “Do you have a cough? Do you have a fever? What are your symptoms? If you screen positive and need to have a test you’ll enter your information. Then we call you back with an appointment time to come in.”The CDC recommends self-quarantine until the results come back, usually within 3 to 5 days, according to Palmer.The Orleans CBCS location, which began operating May 5, is an even larger collaborative mission than UNLV. It has six testing lanes instead of two. TF Medical, 221 and 17 have joined forces along with the Clark County Fire Department and civilian medical staff.The facility administered more than 357 tests the first day, according to University Medical Center spokesperson Scott Krebs.“We’re looking at eventually upping those numbers to 1,000 per day,” said 1st Lt. Thomas Payne, officer in charge of the Orleans operation.“To be able to give back, I really can’t put into words,” said Payne. “Like I’ve been telling some of my Soldiers today, as long as we move forward with strength, knowledge and love, there’s nothing we can’t do.”For more National Guard news: http://www.nationalguard.mil/National Guard Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheNationalGuard/National Guard Twitter: https://twitter.com/usnationalguardHow the National Guard is helping: https://www.nationalguard.mil/coronavirus/Photos of the National Guard response: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thenationalguard/albums/72157713483827538Latest from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/U.S. response: https://www.coronavirus.gov/White House-CDC response: https://www.coronavirus.gov/