Arkansas National Guard called in to help Department of Health with COVID-19 contact tracing

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – 20 Arkansas National Guardsmen are assisting the Arkansas Department of health with slowing the spread of COVID-19. They are taking phone calls and helping with contact tracing.

“Whenever I got the call to come in, I was like this is the time.”

Stepping up in times of need is what any person wearing military uniform feels called to do.

“I always wanted to help my community out, the community that brought me up,” Private First Class Malcolm Garcia said. 

Garcia is a medic for the Army but now he’s taking that training and starting a new mission.

“We were called by the Governor to assist the Department of health to assist with the recent spike of COVID-19 cases. Whenever I got the call to come in, I was like this is the time,” Garcia said.

He’s one of 20 National Guardsmen working with the Department of Health on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We assist them in tracking and trying to slow the spread,” Garcia said.

Specialist Dylan Sample is also a medic for the Army and was called in to help out. 

“We know how to work with that, deal with problems like that, and able to answer questions for people,” Sample said. 

He’s fielding phone calls and working with case management.

“We are calling numbers for people that have positive cases, trying to track down who’ve they’ve been in contact with and if they’ve been quarantining properly or not,” Sample said. 

As they track each positive case, these soldiers say they’re honored to play such a major role in slowing the spread across the state.

“It’s a big deal,” Garcia said. 

“You’re helping more than army, it’s community wide,” Sample said. 

The National Guardsmen trained for two days and Wednesday is their first day helping with contact tracing. They will be working with the Department of Health until July 1st.

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