UNDATED -- Members of the Minnesota National Guard are helping with increased testing efforts across the state.

Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly says Thursday morning, 20 members of the guard received training on administering the swabs as well as some personal protective equipment.

He says all of the members selected are trained medics.

The military members that make up these teams are trained medics. In the Army, we refer to them as combat medics or healthcare specialists. The Air Force knows them as aerospace medical service specialists. In both cases, they complete about four months of skills training on patient care and treatment techniques as well as emergency medical procedures.

The guard members will be working in mobile teams to collect samples in long-term care facilities during the testing surge and then released once the higher demand can be met by other agencies.

Kelly says there are now 120 members of the Minnesota National Guard participating in the state’s COVID-19 response.

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