NEW YORK -- When New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the number of COVID-19 cases in the state continues to decline, the New York National Guard began to shift the focus of its 2,959 personnel from response to steady-state operations.After 100 days of operations, the six regional joint task forces established to provide maximum operational flexibility were consolidated into just two headquarters.The response force has decreased in number from its 3,600 personnel on duty and is expected to continue to decline, as the New York National Guard focuses on supporting several core pandemic response missions, officials said.The current force structure includes 2,459 soldiers; 353 airmen; 76 members of the New York Guard, the state's self-defense force; and 71 members of the New York Naval Militia.The two new headquarters are Joint Task Force North, based at the Thompson Road Armory at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse and Joint Task Force South, operating from the Lexington Avenue Armory in Manhattan.Joint Task Force South will handle missions and operations in New York City, Long Island and in the New York suburbs of the lower Hudson Valley. Joint Task Force North will be responsible for operations throughout the rest of the state.The ongoing missions tasked to the Guard include assisting state-run medical testing sites; warehouse support and logistics missions; food distribution in New York City, Westchester County, and upstate areas as required; and call center support.A major mission to assist the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in removing remains of those in the city who died at home was phased out June 13. More than 400 New York National Guardsmen were involved in that mission and conducted the dignified recovery of 2,882 decedents.Guardsmen also assisted Orange County and Westchester County with similar missions and assisted the medical examiner's office in reorganizing human remains in refrigerator trailers used for the overflown morgue space.On June 16, Army Maj. Gen. Ray Shields, the New York adjutant general, announced an initiative in which the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research will work with soldiers and airmen who conducted those decedent recovery missions. The institute has developed a tool to assess service members at regular intervals to determine their psychological health, Shields said in an email to the force."The entire leadership team strongly encourages participation in this study," Shields said.The New York National Guard will also work with the National Guard Bureau's Warrior Resilience Fitness Division to conduct studies of the personnel to assist their wellness and resilience after participating in the COVID-19 response mission. That assessment will evaluate stressors associated with deploying for the COVID-19 response, those members who did not deploy and the impacts of family and community stress in dealing with COVID-19.Senior leaders will use the results of this study across the country to inform programs regarding resilience, Shields said. "Both of these efforts will help the total force and improve resilience programs," he added, "so I hope we get maximum participation."New York guardsmen continue to assist state employees at 20 medical testing sites located across New York. Five of these are antibody testing sites, and 15 are drive-thru COVID-19 testing locations.Since beginning these missions, the Guard has assisted in 13,649 antibody tests and 336,799 COVID-19 tests.Since the beginning of the pandemic, testing has increased across New York, and about 50,000 people are being tested each day at various locations. In the past 109 days, 3.1 million New Yorkers have been tested for COVID-19, according to the governor, and 385,142 people have tested positive.Expanded testing is critical to the safe and successful reopening of the state, Cuomo said.The number of New Yorkers testing positive had fallen below 1%, Cuomo said on June 16. On that day, out of 59,341 tests conducted, there were only 517 positive results for COVID-19.New York guardsmen continue conducting logistics missions, including warehousing and commodity distribution of medical supplies at five sites in the Hudson Valley-Albany area, Mohawk Valley and New York City.A major part of that mission has been consolidating medical supplies from a warehouse in Oriskany and a hangar at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh to the Marcy Avenue Armory in New York City.Soldiers have moved 714 pallets of personal protective equipment and 1,029 pallets of other equipment in conjunction with the New York State Department of Transportation.They have delivered 360,000 masks to New York City locations and will receive and warehouse 845,000 medical gowns, 2.2 million protective masks, 4,000 oxygen cylinders and another 150 pallets of supplies at four other locations. In the lower Hudson Valley, 87,596 gallons of sanitizer have been distributed since the start of the mission.Meanwhile, soldiers are working with state officials to ensure that all goods are properly accounted for.Finally, teams of guardsmen continue working with the New York State Department of Health's Wadsworth Laboratory in Albany to assemble COVID-19 test sets. A total of 2,038,426 test kits have been built since the start of the mission.Related LinksU.S. Army COVID-19 Worldwide National Guard