Ige’s Request to Extend Federal Funding for Hawai‘i National Guard COVID-19 Assistance Approved

Maui contact tracing at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College. PC: County of Maui / Chris Sugidono.

The federal government has approved Governor David Ige’s request for an extension of funding that will allow the Hawai‘i National Guard to continue with COVID-19 assistance across the state through March 31, 2021.

The Hawai‘i National Guard’s citizen soldiers and airmen are performing missions such as contact tracing, working on mobile swab teams, health education for at-risk populations, screening, food and medical supply distribution and more.

In addition, the State of Hawai‘i anticipates the need for the Hawai‘i National Guard’s support in executing COVID-19 vaccination distribution plans.

“The President’s approval of this funding extension will enable the Hawai‘i National Guard to continue to provide much needed assistance as we respond to this nationwide public health crisis and continue our effort to protect our communities, save lives and minimize human suffering,” said Gov. Ige.

“President Trump’s approval of Gov. Ige’s extension request allows the Hawai‘i National Guard to continue the critical response missions in support of the state and counties,” said Maj. Gen. Kenneth S. Hara, adjutant general for the State of Hawai‘i.

“This extension means our soldiers and airmen who are performing essential missions, including contact tracing and food and medical supply distribution, can continue their work without interruption,” said US Senator Brian Schatz.

State officials say it costs approximately $8.5 million per month to fund National Guard emergency assistance activities associated with preventing, mitigating, and responding to the threat to public health and safety posed by the COVID-19 virus.

Under 32 U.S.C. 502(f), the Federal Emergency Management Agency of the Department of Homeland Security will fund 75 percent of the cost, with the state funding 25 percent – or about $2 million per month.

The funding would cover 800 soldiers and airmen, and the state has the ability to request additional funding for up to 1,300 soldiers and airmen.

Hawai‘i is among 47 states and the territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to receive the funding extension.

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