Minnesota National Guard COVID-19 Information
The Minnesota National Guard is supporting ongoing COVID-19 response efforts including COVID-19 testing support, long-term care assistance, planning and logistics support to state agencies in coordination with the State Emergency Operations Center and the Minnesota Department of Health. We remain ready to respond, as needed, to assist Minnesotans.
28JAN2020: The Minnesota National Guard began assisting the State of Minnesota and Minnesota Department of Health at 10 community vaccination sites in Minnesota. For information about community COVID-19 vaccination in Minnesota, visit https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine.
28DEC2020: The Minnesota National Guard administered its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine today at Camp Ripley as part of a U.S. Department of Defense pilot program. The vaccine program is currently voluntary for service members and priority is given to healthcare workers and Guardsmen who are currently on duty supporting COVID-19 response operations.
The Minnesota National Guard currently has nearly 600 Soldiers and Airmen supporting the state of Minnesota’s COVID-19 response. More than 370 of those Guardsmen are assigned to teams that are available to support long-term care facilities throughout the state. To date, the Minnesota National Guard has supported 17 long-term care facilities with that number expected to rise in the coming weeks and months.
4DEC2020: The Minnesota National Guard has nearly 600 Soldiers and Airmen supporting the state of Minnesota's COVID-19 response.
We currently have more than 270 Guardsmen assigned to 11 teams who are available to support facilities throughout the state with an additional 100 currently going through training.
To date, the Minnesota National Guard has supported 17 long-term care facilities with that number expected to continue to rise.
More than 200 Soldiers and Airmen from the Minnesota National Guard have been activated to support the state’s COVID-19 response efforts. This number is expected to increase to over 400 by the end of the week.
The Guardsmen will be focused on three specific areas – supporting nasal swab community testing sites, supporting saliva community testing sites and providing staffing support to long-term care facilities.
Ten of the testing sites will be at National Guard armories in Albert Lea, Anoka, Crookston, Fairmont, Hibbing, Hutchinson, Inver Grove Heights, Morris, Stillwater and Wadena.
The sites at the National Guard armories will be staffed by a combination of local public health staff and members of the Minnesota National Guard. Nearly 100 members of the National Guard are being deployed to provide support with logistics, registration, check in and check out, supply management and transportation.
State health officials will work with local health officials and other community partners to offer free COVID-19 testing in multiple communities each week, with four to six separate community testing events spread throughout the state each week. Testing will be free, available to anyone who feels they need to be tested whether they have symptoms or not, and will not require insurance.
22JUL2020: Governor Tim Walz signed Executive Order 20-81 which says all Minnesotans must wear a face covering in public indoor spaces and indoor businesses. Workers also must wear a face covering outdoors when it is not possible to maintain social distancing. The order is effective Saturday, July 25, 2020.
In support of the Governor's Executive Order, all Minnesota National Guard employees (AGR, ADOS, T32 Military Technician, T5 National Guard employees) will follow the guidelines established by the Minnesota Management and Budget policy regarding face coverings. All Minnesota National Guard Employees will be required to wear face coverings when in the workplace or public service environment. In addition to MMB guidelines, face coverings must meet requirements outlined in applicable Department of Defense policy.
State of Minnesota employees working for the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs will also abide by the MMB policy.
23-25MAY2020: Minnesotans who need or want to be tested for COVID-19 will be able to access free testing at six National Guard Armory locations across Minnesota throughout the Memorial Day holiday weekend: Saturday, May 23, through Monday, May 25. Testing will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the locations below.
COVID-19 Testing Locations:
- East St Paul: 1530 Maryland Ave E, St Paul, MN 55106
- Minneapolis Armory: 1025 Broadway St. NE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55413.
- Moorhead Armory: 1002 15th Ave N, Moorhead, MN 56560
- Duluth Armory: 4015 Airpark Blvd, Duluth, MN 55811
- Faribault Armory: 3000 W Airport Rd, Faribault, MN 55021
- St. James Armory: 521 Armstrong Blvd N, St James, MN 56081
22MAY2020 Updated DoD Travel Restrictions Transition to Conditions-based Phased Approach to Coronavirus Disease 2019 Personnel Movement and Travel Restrictions
22APR2020: The Minnesota National Guard delivered an additional 57 cots to the Minnesota Department of Corrections to help facilitate social distancing.
16APR2020: The Minnesota National Guard delivered 40 cots to the Minnesota Correctional Facility - Willow River to help facilitate social distancing.
7APR2020: Effective immediately, to the extent possible, all individuals on Minnesota National Guard/MN Department of Military Affairs property will wear cloth face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public areas or work centers. Service members are temporarily authorized the use of masks while in uniform. Soldiers/Airmen can utilize the issued neck gaiter as a face mask or wear a home-made cloth face covering. Masks should not have printed wording, profanity, racist, demeaning or derogatory logos, script or imagery.
3APR2020: Governor Walz launches COVID-19 one-stop website and dashboard. Visit https://mn.gov/covid19/ for up-to-date information on Minnesota's ongoing COVID-19 response.
2APR2020: The Minnesota National Guard is assisting the Minnesota Department of Health with conducting maintenance on four oxygen delivery systems in order to prepare them for potential future use in the state.
1APR2020: Star Tribune Opinion Exchange: "National Guard adjutant general: Fellow Minnesotans; join the fight against COVID-19"
31MAR2020: The Minnesota National Guard is assisting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Minnesota Department of Health and other agencies in identifying alternative care sites in communities across Minnesota should additional medical facilities be needed in the COVID-19 response.
22MAR2020: On March 21-22, the Minnesota National Guard delivered personal protective equipment from the Camp Ripley warehouse to a Minnesota Department of Health warehouse in St. Paul for distribution to first responders and healthcare workers throughout the state. Included in the delivery were more than 81,000 N95 masks, 17,296 pandemic flu kits, 1,153 Tyvek disposable coveralls, 2,265 boots and 2,263 gloves. The Minnesota National Guard continues to provide logistical and planning assistance in support of the state’s response to COVID-19.
21MAR2020: Governor Tim Walz isues Executive Order 20-13 authorizing National Guard assistance to COVID-19 response.
18MAR2020: The Minnesota National Guard delivered more than 1,000 surgical masks to each of the eight EMS regions in Minnesota for use by first responders. The masks came from the U.S. Property and Fiscal Office warehouse at Camp Ripley. An additional 7,000 masks were distributed to the Minnesota State Patrol for follow-on delivery to seven Minnesota Department of Health district offices to provide protection to nursing home inspection teams across the state.
17MAR2020: The Minnesota National Guard is fully integrated into the Governor's staff planning process regarding the state's COVID-19 response strategy. Currently the Minnesota National Guard does not have imminent tasks related to prevention or response, but is in constant communication with the Governor's staff and state agencies should we be needed for future support.
*** If you are having issues with getting testing results ***
Nasal swab community tests: You should get your results back in 2-3 days. Sometimes there are laboratory delays. If you don't get your results, call 1-855-612-0677 for assistance.
Saliva community tests: Results are typically available 48 hours after your sample arrives at the lab, but there can sometimes be delays. If you have questions regarding saliva testing, please email email@example.com or call 800-800-5698. Please do not contact the MNNG or MDH for results.
Coronavirus Disease in Minnesota - State of MN public dashboard https://mn.gov/covid19/
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Hotlines:
Community Mitigation (Schools, child care, business) questions: 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504
Health questions: 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903
Minnesota National Guard psychological health coordinators provide crisis response 24/7 to service members and families: 651-282-4029
Minnesota National Guard personal financial counselors provide financial counseling to service members and families: 612-297-0295, 218-341-3617 or 612-849-3657
Questions and Answers
Q: Is there the ability for a Reserve member to seek waiver of monthly Tricare Reserve Select premiums?
A: Since members must pay monthly premiums that represent 28 percent of the cost of the coverage by law, TRS premiums cannot be waived. However, to address concerns that members of the Reserve component may be unable to pay the monthly TRS premiums due to the COVID-19 emergency, if the TRICARE contractor is unsuccessful in collecting the premium at the beginning of the month from the member's bank account or credit card on file, the contractor will delay terminating the coverage until 90 days after the date the COVID-19 emergency has ended.
Q: What happens if a Reserve component member cannot pay the monthly, or accumulated, Tricare Reserve Select premiums?
A: Reserve component members are strongly encouraged to continue to pay their premiums each month, if possible, as unpaid premiums accumulate each month and cannot be waived. If not fully paid within 90 days after the end date of the COVID-19 emergency period as determined by the Director, DHA, the TRS coverage will be terminated RETROACTIVE to the last premium paid-through date. If any TRICARE payments were made for those uncovered dates of service, the TRICARE contractor will be required to recoup the payments.
Q: I have full-time SGLI coverage because I am scheduled to drill at least 12 times a year but I am unable to drill because of the pandemic. Will I lose my SGLI coverage?
A: No. Under existing policy, Reserve Component members will not lose their SGLI, TSGLI or Family SGLI coverage because they were unable to drill or perform Annual Training due to COVID-19 and, therefore, didn't pay their premiums from their inactive or active duty pay. Similar to members whose drills are excused, rescheduled or grouped together in some months throughout the year, your coverage will continue even in months where you did not earn pay. You should expect, however, that any missed premiums, will be deducted in a lump-sum once you return to a pay status.
Q: I receive one or more special or incentive pays based on the hazardous or other specific duties I perform in my National Guard unit. Right now, some of our drill periods are being cancelled, rescheduled, deferred or excused and some are being conducted virtually. If I'm not able to meet the performance requirements for my pay, will I be able to qualify for a waiver too?
A: Yes. Service secretaries have the authority to waive the performance requirements for Reserve Component members as they have for active component members. Therefore, as long as RC members are otherwise eligible for their special and incentive pays, the Service secretaries have the authority to waive the performance requirements so that RC members can continue to receive their pay. Contact your chain of command to find out if you qualify for a waiver and whether you need to take action to obtain one.
Q: I have resources I'd like to donate to the state of Minnesota that could be used in the fight against COVID-19, will the Minnesota National Guard take them?
A: Donations of resources are being coordinated by the State Emergency Operations Center, please email all inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What should I do if I'm a soldier/airman and have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been recommended to quarantine or isolate myself due to potential exposure to COVID-19?
A: If you have been tested for COVID-19, been exposed or suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19, or if you are currently sick and exhibiting symptoms, contact your chain of command to report your condition and for additional guidance. Follow all guidance from local health and government officials. Do not leave quarantine or isolation to report to your unit.
Q: Why are National Guard Soldiers and Airmen deployed/ preparing to deploy, while we face a crisis at home?
A: As an operational reserve force, the National Guard is critical to the National Defense Strategy. Without the National Guard, the US military would not be capable of meeting its global demand. The Minnesota National Guard is called upon to apply its unique skills and meet the challenges of new threats, as other regions become more volatile. We are ready to meet the increasing needs of our state and nation to support and defend its citizens.
Q: My son/daughter is a basic training/ AIT. Is he/she in training? When will he/she get home?
A: As of March 16, all Department of Defense service members were directed to stop official travel. Your son/daughter's chain of command at their Army/Air school house has the most immediate information on next steps for your service member during this fluid situation. Keep checking their official social media pages, and keep in touch with your son/daughter.
Q: Is the Minnesota National Guard restricting M-DAY (traditional) Soldiers and Airmen from traveling when they are NOT in a duty status?
A: The Minnesota National Guard has no authority to restrict movement of our traditional service members. However, we ask that soldiers and airmen keep their chain of command informed about any recent travel.
Q: What if I have a school reservation?
A: The Department of Defense has suspended all movement for functional training, DMOS transition/qualification and primary military education courses across the Army beginning immediately until May 11, 2020.
Q: Is there a freeze in recruiting?
A: There is not currently a freeze in recruiting prospective members into the Minnesota National Guard. To make an appointment with an Army National Guard recruiter, go to https://www.nationalguard.com and click on "get started" and a local recruiter will contact you. To make an appointment with an Air National Guard recruiter, go to www.goang.com and click on "apply now" and a local recruiter will contact you.
Q. Will COVID-19 impact GI Bill program eligibility or impact GI Bill benefits?
A. Most students will not see a change in their benefits and should continue to receive payments as normally scheduled. Updates to education policy and messages regarding COVID-19 impacts will be published on the Minnesota National Guard Education and Incentives Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/educationandincentives.
How you can help
- Individuals who have small quantities of new, unopened and unused personal protective equipment (PPE) to donate to COVID-19 response efforts should contact their county or tribal emergency manager. Examples of recommended PPE items are gowns, masks, respirators, face shields and gloves. (Please note: emergency managers cannot accept opened or used PPE.) Find your local emergency manager using this interactive map.
- Other than PPE items, donations of supplies and goods are discouraged. Cash donations to the non-profit of your choice are the best donation.
- Individuals who would like to volunteer should contact an organization registered with the Minnesota Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster (MnVOAD).
- Many blood drives have been canceled, impacting the supply. Blood donation centers have the highest standards of safety and infection control. To find where you can donate blood, visit the Minnesota Red Cross.
- Businesses who would like to offer resources, supplies or personnel to COVID-19 response efforts should email email@example.com. Businesses will be contacted if there is a need for the identified resources.