By Bria Brown

(CBS DETROIT) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s request for an extension of the Michigan National Guard for COVID-19 response through March 31, 2021 was approved Thursday.

Title 32 authority, which allows Guard members to receive federal pay and benefits, was previously set to expire on December 31, 2020, due to a deadline set by the Trump Administration. 

Whitmer said the Michigan National Guard “continues to be a crucial part” of the state’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic

“I want to thank our men and women in uniform for their dedication and round-the-clock work to protect the people of our state by expanding testing in our communities and ensuring they have what they need to get through this crisis. I implore the president once again to listen to public health experts and work with Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi on a bipartisan recovery package that protects American families, frontline workers, and small business owners,” said Whitmer. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are skyrocketing in Michigan and across the country, and if we’re going to get through this winter, we need the federal government to step up and provide this crucial support.”  

 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Michigan National Guard members have helped distribute more than 14 million pounds of food at food banks, delivered tests and protective equipment across the state, and assisted with testing more than 200 thousand Michiganders for COVID-19.

The Guard is partnering with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and local health departments to offer COVID-19 testing, provide antigen training for health care practitioners, and to provide informational assistance in call centers. 

MORE FROM CBS DETROIT: Whitmer May Extend Partial Shutdown Of Schools, Businesses

MORE FROM CBS DETROIT: Judge Rejects To Block Ban On Michigan Indoor Dining

MORE FROM CBS DETROIT: Missed Gov. Whitmer’s Press Conference? Here’s Her Update On The State’s Response To COVID-19

© 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.