National Guard

National Guard Members and US Capitol Police Officers Test Positive for Coronavirus

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There are growing concerns the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was also a superspreader event for the men and women defending it. 

Quarantined to a room in a Crystal City hotel, a Virginia National Guard member is positive for COVID-19. Suffering with a fever and congestion, he’s alone and nearly 100 miles from home. His wife talked to the News4 I-Team, which agreed not to reveal her identity since her husband is not cleared to speak with the media. 

"The fact that so many of them are coming down with COVID, tested positive for COVID, and not having adequate medical supplies or medical care or nutrition, that's what's concerning me," she said.

This week she brought him a care package from home to keep his spirits up. She said he’s had trouble getting basic medical supplies like a thermometer, cough medicine and Tylenol because he can’t leave his room.

She told the I-Team she thinks some of this could have been prevented.

“Absolutely, absolutely,” she said. “The soldiers are in close proximity to each other for so long. The fact that they are working very long shifts and they're very tired. The nutrition is not the best.”

As a military spouse, my heart broke. I just keep thinking of these men and women. They just deserve better. They really deserve better. They've given so much.

Wife of Virginia guardsman with COVID-19

Her husband’s not alone. He told her 20% of the 600 people in his Virginia Guard unit have tested positive. In total, as many as 200 Guard members deployed to protect the District during and after the U.S. Capitol riots have tested positive.  

"The VNG has a team of soldiers dedicated to checking on the welfare of anyone isolated or quarantined," the Guard said in a statement. "There are medical providers checking on them twice a day either virtually and in person, and meals are provided three times a day. Soldiers can also contact on-call military medical personnel if they need additional assistance. Soldiers should keep their chain of command informed and let them know if there are any unmet needs."

"The Virginia National Guard is committed to making sure all of our soldiers are receiving the proper care based on their symptoms, and we will make sure the necessary resources are made available to support them," Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, said in the statement.

A union official told the I-Team at least 38 U.S. Capitol Police employees have also tested positive since Jan. 6. U.S. Capitol Police officers have been lobbying the agency for weeks to get more vaccinations. Its 2,000 members remain on the job near members of Congress who travel by plane from all corners of the country and gather inside the complex.

Many families worry Guard members were exposed while resting in less-than-ideal locations, like inside a nearby parking garage or on the marble floors inside the Capitol complex.

“As a military spouse, my heart broke. I just keep thinking of these men and women. They just deserve better. They really deserve better. They've given so much,” said the wife of the Virginia guardsman.

Coronavirus Cases in DC, Maryland and Virginia

COVID-19 cases by population in D.C. and by county in Maryland and Virginia

Source: DC, MD and VA Health Departments
Credit: Anisa Holmes / NBC Washington

Members of Congress say they’ve asked for better accommodations for remaining Guard members to prevent further spread of the virus.

“The fact that these men and women uprooted their lives, part of their job as Guard, means that we owe them an obligation to make sure that they’re safe,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). “And if they’re going to continue to be deployed, some of them through March here at the Capitol, then they should be high on the priority list of getting vaccinations.”

 “There’s a lot of lessons to be learned,” said Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.). “I recognize that this was an unprecedented event … I can only hope that lessons have been learned. These troops are going to be here for another several months, and I think now you're beginning to see the kinds of actions that should have been taken."

As for that lack of medical supplies, she said, “I’ll be looking into that.”

Reported by Scott MacFaralane, produced by Rick Yarborough, and shot and edited by Steve Jones.

Complete statement from the Virginia National Guard:

Approximately 1,000 Virginia National Guard Soldiers are among more than 7,000 National Guard personnel from dozens of states remaining in Washington, D.C., at the request of civilian law enforcement following the 59th Presidential Inauguration, and they will assist in keeping people safe and protecting property. VNG personnel are expected to return to Virginia in early to mid February, and NG forces from other states will remain on duty.

The VNG is following the CDC guidelines for personnel who tested positive for COVID-19. While they are in their isolation or quarantine period, they have access to medical care and supplies appropriate for their symptoms. All VNG personnel are being tested before they leave Washington, D.C., and they were screened before they came on duty.

The Virginia National Guard is committed to making sure all of our Soldiers are receiving the proper care based on their symptoms, and we will make sure the necessary resources are made available to support them.

The VNG has a team of Soldiers dedicated to checking on the welfare of anyone isolated or quarantined. There are medical providers checking on them twice a day either virtually and in person, and meals are provided three times a day. Soldiers can also contact on-call military medical personnel if they need additional assistance. Soldiers should keep their chain of command informed and let them know if there are any unmet needs.

"The Virginia National Guard is committed to making sure all of our Soldiers are receiving the proper care based on their symptoms, and we will make sure the necessary resources are made available to support them," said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia.

The Department of Defense is the release authority for the results of COVID-19 testing.

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