WASHINGTON — Several members of D.C. National Guard have tested positive for the coronavirus after being deployed to "Justice for George Floyd" protests in our nation's capital.
DCNG has not released the number of positive cases, but the number of infected members remains low, according to a Lt. Col. Brooke Davis, PAO, District of Columbia National Guard.
The military members who caught the virus have been quarantined. They will not be released from Title 32 orders until the risk of infection or illness has passed, Davis said.
Other members of the National Guard with no or low risk of coronavirus exposure with symptoms between one to 14 days after release from orders must contact their unit to initiate service determinations with their units.
In a statement released by Davis on behalf of the National Guard, it clarifies that military members were screened for COVID-19 before they were deployed to protests and will have to complete a COVID-19 screening before leaving their assigned place of duty. The screening consists of exposure history, a temperature check, a check for coronavirus symptoms, and a review of any past coronavirus testing.
"Our priority remains our mission to protect life, preserve property and ensure our fellow citizens' right to safely and peacefully demonstrate," Davis said.
National Guardsmen were required to practice social distancing and to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to assist local and federal law enforcement in responding to the protests in D.C.
President Donald Trump has since ordered National Guard troops to officially withdraw from D.C. Sunday morning, citing that "everything is under perfect control" in the District after 10 days of protests.
About 5,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen from 11 states supported D.C. National Guard in response to the 'civil unrest,' according to a statement from the National Guard Bureau. Many people expressed concern over the increased military presence during the protests, including D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.