Gov. Inslee preparing to deploy National Guard to help fight COVID-19

Gov. Jay Inslee's staff says he is getting ready to deploy the National Guard for the first time in this COVID-19 crisis.

“I expect they will be very soon, we should have on that in the next day or so,” said David Postman, Inslee’s chief of staff.

The governor's team makes clear the guard will not be involved in establishing checkpoints or enforcing his stay-at-home order.

One likely job, helping food banks.

“The initial mission for the Washington National Guard would be to assist food banks and that mission could start later this week,” said Karina Shagren, Washington National Guard spokeswoman.

“It would be helping food banks across the state with either packing up food or transporting food, food delivery, handing out food.”

State Health Officer, Dr. Kathy Lofy says the latest COVID-19 test results are showing some success in slowing the virus, due to social distancing.

“It is extremely important that we all continue to stay home and stay healthy because if we don’t, we will very likely see a large increase in the number of cases,” she said.

The governor's stay home order expires next Monday, so expect to hear this week about any extension.

The volume of tests has overwhelmed the State Health Department’s website keeping track of COVID-19 cases. Dr. Lofy says they hope to have that repaired in the next few days.