LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer today sent a letter to President Trump requesting an extension of Title 32 authority in order to use Michigan National Guard forces to help limit the spread of COVID-19 through July 31, 2020.
Title 32 status, which provides for federal pay and benefits, is currently authorized by the President through June 24.
“The Michigan National Guard has been instrumental in flattening the COVID-19 curve in Michigan by performing testing throughout the state, distributing Personal Protective Equipment, food, and medical supplies, providing warehousing support, disinfecting public spaces, and assisting the Department of Health and Human Services with testing,” Governor Whitmer said. “I’m requesting an extension to continue utilizing the Michigan National Guard so we can safely reopen our economy while putting the health and well-being of all Michiganders first.”
In addition to requiring Title 32 authority to fully utilize the Michigan National Guard, Gov. Whitmer is making her request in order to ensure Guard members receive federal retirement and education benefits made available under the GI Bill. If Title 32 authority expires on June 24, some Guard members will not be eligible to receive these benefits.
“The Michigan National Guard is a crucial part of our emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will remain vital to our ongoing recovery,” Governor Whitmer said. “I want to ensure the brave men and women serving in the National Guard receive the benefits they’re entitled to and have earned.”
On May 2, Gov. Whitmer announced medical specialists from the Michigan National Guard will assist Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) staff in testing every prisoner at the Baraga Correctional Facility. After Baraga, the facilities being tested include Alger Correctional Facility, Marquette Branch Prison, Newberry Correctional Facility, Chippewa Correctional Facility and Kinross Correctional Facility. All prisoners will be tested, totaling about 7,500 prisoners.
There are 15, three-person teams of Michigan National Guard members working with MDOC custody and non-custody staff to complete the testing. Medical specialists from the Michigan National Guard are in each team and handle sample collections from the prisoners.
In April, the Michigan National Guard worked with Sparrow Engineering and Facilities Caregivers to set up a temperature-controlled shelter outside Sparrow Hospital’s Emergency Department to screen walk-in and ambulance Patients for COVID-19 before entering the hospital.
To view the governor’s letter, click the link below: