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Florida National Guard opens COVID-19 testing site at stadium

Florida Army National Guard Soldiers from the 1218th Transportation Company, West Palm Beach, scribe patient information during COVID-19 testing at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens March 23, 2020. The testing site is the second set up by the Guard in South Florida.

Florida Army National Guard Soldiers from the 1218th Transportation Company, West Palm Beach, scribe patient information during COVID-19 testing at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens March 23, 2020. The testing site is the second set up in South Florida by the Guard.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Florida National Guard Soldiers and Airmen opened South Florida’s second COVID-19 drive-thru community testing site at the Hard Rock Stadium in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Units from all over Florida, from the panhandle to Miami, are supporting Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request to help respond to the coronavirus. Soldiers that play in the Army Band are directing traffic, while Soldiers from transportation units are scribing patient test information and distributing water and supplies to other service members.

“Right now, we are tasked to do road guard duty,” said Spc. Joshua Guzman, with the 13th Army Band. “I am honored to be here. This is why I joined the National Guard; when it comes to the Army Band, we are prepared to fill any job that is needed.”

There are several essential tasks in establishing each testing site: supplying food, water and supplies to service members, directing traffic through the lanes, and mentoring junior enlisted Guard members during their first state active duty.

Soldiers and Airmen are taking on these roles regardless of their military occupation specialty. They are eager to help one another and continue to play a vital role in the success of the FLNG’s mission.

“Our current mission is to provide assistance and aid to the citizens of Miami,” said Spc. Shanika Naine, with the 1218th Transportation Company, West Palm Beach. “Normalizing citizens, restoring stability and restoring lives to their normal states is something that we and our families can be proud of.”

More than 3,000 people have been tested at the two COVID-19 testing sites opened in South Florida since Friday. As of Monday, there were 937 positive cases in Florida residents and 70 positive cases in non-residents, according to the Florida Department of Health.

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