CARMICHAEL (CBS13) – California National Guard members recently answered the state’s call for help with coronavirus testing during the pandemic. These days, they can be seen at senior care homes to help test some of the most vulnerable populations.
The unusual sight, guard members in fatigues, could be seen Thursday as they helped test at an assisted-living home in Carmichael.
Capt. Serenity Holden and Staff Sgt. Beth Williams are among those called in to help the state, and they’re proud.
“Being called to state activation in response to COVID is awesome,” Staff Sgt. Williams said.
At AEGIS in Carmichael, guard members help the state give mandatory COVID-19 tests to residents.
“We’re trying to make sure this testing gets done for them as quickly as possible to isolate them as quickly as possible,” Capt. Holden said.
But for those who live at the facility, there are fears that seeing guard uniforms could be unnerving – especially when times are already trying inside.
“The military does make it one step more intense,” said Carrie Blythe, whose mom lives at AEGIS.
Blythe spoke to CBS13 earlier in the week and expressed those thoughts while visiting her mom, Jane, through a window.
“You know – it is really hard on her not having the hugs or physical touch,” Blythe said.
Staff Sgt. Williams hopes to ease those concerns, and put out this hopefully calming message to the public.
“We’re not just military police. We don’t roll around in Humvees, armed,” Staff Sgt. Williams said. “There’s a lot of aspects to the military and national guard that civilians don’t understand or see.”
At AEGIS, those who call it home had the chance to opt-out of the COVID test. But Blythe said she hopes the current testing process could mean getting back to normal sooner. Guard members like Capt. Holden hope so, too.
“It’s awesome to know we are part of the process to get us one step closer to being normal,” Capt. Holden said.
The California National Guard was moved from testing at pop-up library sites to testing at senior care facilities. They started at senior homes last week.