New York’s National Guard is helping get COVID 19 test kits to communities in need

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NIAGARA FALLS N.Y. (WIVB) – Members of the National Guard had the task this weekend of packaging about 350,000 COVID-19 testing kits. They had three days to get the job done and were able to get in done in less time than that.

“As far as what we’re doing the department of homeland security has been very pleased with the progress that we’ve put through,” said 1st Lieutenant Puinno. “We’ve put through more testing kits than he anticipated. In a three day period we’re getting the orders done in three days, because we were originally supposed to do it over three days.”

To prevent a shortage of testing kits in nursing homes the Department of Homeland Security Emergency Services, the New York State Department of Health and members of the National Guard spent their weekend assembling testing kits at the Wadsworth Center in Albany.

“With each nursing home we have a label that tells us how many vials, how many tests we need,” Puinno said. “So usually the kit will include the vials, it’s include the nose swabs, cotton pads, hazard bags as well as labels.”

Around 3,500 soldiers and airmen helped in this mission as part of New York’s response to COVID-19. It was a group effort from members all throughout the region including the 101st Calvary in Niagara Falls. The testing kits will also go towards 10 mobile testing sites throughout the state.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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