Members of the Maryland National Guard at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. continue to support the Prince George’s County Health Department and Office of Emergency Management efforts at the COVID-19 community screening and testing site.
Setting up the temporary screening facility, which may be used as statewide model, involves many moving parts and communication is key. The 175th Wing Emergency Management Flight, Maryland Air National Guard, responded by providing their Mobile Emergency Operations Center (MEOC) to support the operations taking place at the open parking lots around the stadium.
“We are here as a joint effort with the 115th Military Police Battalion, to provide interoperability, communications and command support to local and state agencies,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Derek White, Emergency Manager assigned to the 175th Emergency Management Flight, Maryland Air National Guard. “We are able to give them a platform to establish command and control and make sure all the resources and operations that are conducted are done in an efficient manner.” Planning, training and preparation are critical when the Maryland Guard conducts an emergency response event. When the time comes, they have the well-trained personnel ready and the right equipment to put out in the field to respond effectively.
“We have the flexibility to make decisions on-site in support of our partners with their guidance to ensure all efforts are successful,” said U.S. Army Capt. Jason Yankee, operations officer assigned to the 115th MP Battalion, Maryland Army National Guard. “When the screenings begin and the operation runs in a professional, safe manner the MDNG will demonstrate to the people of Maryland that their National Guard is here. When things happen, the government agencies are all in sync and doing what is best for everyone.”
The site is now operational and provides assistance and information for the citizens of Maryland. The site operates by appointment only.
Patients must be screened by telephone beforehand. If they meet the CDC criteria for testing, they will get an appointment.
Once onsite, the patients will speak with medical staff to determine what symptoms individuals may be experiencing, if any at all. Those that are experiencing symptoms will be directed to a separate area, while those not experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 will be recommended to self-quarantine after speaking with a registered nurse about prevention.
“Thus far, it has been a well-executed mission,” stated White. “We have had several missions before with the MEOC, so we understand the importance of its capabilities. I am extremely proud to be part of the team called upon to support the state in their response to this national crisis.”
Guard members live and work in the same communities they serve. Guardsmen have a federal mission where they can deploy in support of federal operations but also a state mission when they are activated by the governor in support of civil authorities.
“This is really a partnered effort. We live here, this is our home,” stated Yankee. “This is what we signed up to do, we are going to come out here and make a difference for people that need help. When we finish, we will know that we were there when the community needed us the most.”
Walkups exhibiting no symptoms will not be tested. Those with prescriptions from primary care physicians or other health care providers will still need to make an appointment through the Prince George’s Health Department’s COVID-19 Hotline and telehealth services by calling 301-883-6627.
Maryland citizens who are seeking care at this site can call 301-883-6627 to schedule the initial telehealth screening. Medical services at the FedEx Field site will run Monday, Wednesday and Friday.