CARMICHAEL (CBS13) — The National Guard is now a part of COVID-19 testing across Sacramento County.

Guardsmen will be rolling into one facility on Thursday, Aegis Living Carmichael to perform tests on residents.

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Carrie Blythe’s mother Jane has been at the facility for two years. It’s been three months since she has seen her mother in person.

“I know it’s really hard on her not having the hugs and the physical touch,” Blythe said. “It’s been challenging because she doesn’t have any visitors, so we see her through the window.”

This window has been a blessing for her family. Since the pandemic began, Carrie’s been worried about her mom, who could be at risk inside, with little social interaction.

“She forgets that we are in a pandemic,” said Blythe.

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From that same window, her mom will see National Guardsmen rolling up to help the county administer coronavirus testing.

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“The military does make it one step more intense,” said Blythe.

It will be part of the county’s mandatory testing efforts for all long-term care communities, as part of a baseline testing effort.

“When I read it, I was kind of caught off-guard, I don’t understand why,” she said.

County health leaders call “specimen collection” for baseline testing is a big undertaking and the county is utilizing all of their resources at different times, including the National Guard.

Leaders with Aegis say they won’t force residents to get tested without consent and will offer another option through a private company. That’s something that puts the Blythe family at ease.

“They are giving the residents a choice, it’s not something they have to do, but they’re encouraging they partake,” she said.

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Aegis has had no confirmed cases of COVID-19. The National Guard will be redirected to senior living facilities from pop up sites at libraries to support this effort.

Marissa Perlman