LANSING, Mich. – President Donald Trump has approved Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s request to extend the use of the Michigan National Guard to fight the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Trump extended the federal deployment until Aug. 21 after Whitmer sent him a letter May 27. It was previously scheduled to expire June 24.
Michigan stay-at-home order timeline: 70 days, 4 extensions, ever-changing restrictions
“The Michigan National Guard has been instrumental in our efforts to flatten the curve and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and will continue to play a vital role as we slowly and safely reopen our economy,” Whitmer said. “We need to keep working to expand testing, and this extension will ensure we can continue to ramp up testing throughout the state. Moving too fast without the tests we need could put Michigan at risk of a second wave of infections.”
- Michigan salon owners ‘disrespected’ by Whitmer telling people to ‘Google how to do a haircut’
- Possible COVID-19 exposure in Northern Michigan this weekend -- here are the times, places involved
- Whitmer admits flaws in controversial COVID-19 nursing home policy
The Michigan National Guard is 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.
The extension allows National Guard members to receive federal pay and benefits. It also means many National Guard members will qualify for federal retirement and education benefits made available under the GI Bill. Without an extension, some members would not have been eligible to receive the benefits.
“The Michigan National Guard looks forward to continuing its work with Gov. Whitmer in our state’s response to COVID-19,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “This approval allows Michigan National Guard members to continue to serve our communities and protect Michigan families.”