LATHAM, N.Y. –New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have collected COVID-19 health information from over 456,000 airline passengers since starting a mission to aid the New York State Department of Health.
Five hundred Soldiers and Airmen are now helping health department officials collecting health data at 12 airports located across the state.
State regulations require airline passengers coming from other countries and states to either fill out a paper form indicating their health status or complete an online form on a smartphone app. Passengers must display a copy of the app or submit a form to avoid getting a summons for violating New York state law.
As of November 24, Soldiers and Airmen have collected 300,109 forms and verified 156,782 app entries.
There are currently 500 Soldiers and Airmen performing this mission across the state.
A total of 1,591 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, along with members of the New York Guard state defense force and the New York Naval Militia were on duty as part of Task Force COVID-19 on Nov. 24.
Travelers entering New York must quarantine for 14 days after arriving in the state, under state public health rules.
Visitors can avoid this by obtaining a COVID-19 test within three days of arriving in New York and then quarantine for three days and then take another COVID-19 test. If both tests are negative they can exit quarantine earlier than 14 days.
Initially National Guard Soldiers were on duty at seven airports: JFK International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York City; MacArthur Airport in Islip, Long Island; and the airports in Albany, Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo.
Anticipating increases in travel from Thanksgiving to Christmas, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo directed the New York National Guard to assist health officials at five more, smaller airports beginning on November 24. These include Westchester County Airport, Niagara International Airport, and small airports in Plattsburg, Elmira and Ithaca.
While picking up the airport health data collection mission, New York National Guard members continued to execute long term missions:
• Assisting at 15 state-run testing sites;
• Securing four alternative care facilities;
• Working in six state health supply warehouses;
And assembling COVID-19 test kits for the Department of Health.
Since Cuomo placed the New York National Guard on state active duty in early March, 4,938 members of the Army and Air National Guard, the New York Guard and the New York Naval Militia have been part of the mission.
As of Nov. 24 New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have assisted in testing 832,334 COVID-19 tests at drive-thru test sites from Long Island to Buffalo; assembled 4,390,159 COVID 19 testing kits; and received 48,815 pallets of supplies and distributed 20,180 pallets of supplies at the six warehouse locations.
Federal funding for the missions is expected to end on December 5 and Soldier and Airmen currently in a federally paid duty status will switch to a state active duty status to continue the ongoing missions.