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Georgia National Guard lends support, expertise to help most vulnerable

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FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Armed with disinfectant and protective gear, the Georgia National Guard is helping Forsyth County’s most vulnerable.

Nine guardsmen brought in foggers and disinfectant to clean the common areas of Chestnut Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation in Cumming April 13.

“We will be disinfecting the facility with a focus on common areas,” Team Capt. Carlton McLaurin said.

Safety mission

Georgia National Guard Cpl. Estevan Ramirez is disinfected after serving on a team sanitizing the Chestnut Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation facility in Cumming April 13. The Guard has been activated to help decontaminate local senior care facilities.

Upon request, the soldiers will wipe down room of residents, he said. The process took two to three hours.

“Some will go in and others will remain outside and disinfect them as they come out,” McLaurin explained.

Team members donned full body suits, masks and face shields before entering the building.

“We know the risks,” McLaurin said. “We’re citizen soldiers, we signed up for this.”

Training for the mission involved learning about proper use of the chemicals, equipment technique and proper disposal of used equipment, McLaurin said.

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Safety mission

Members of the team are staying in a hotel as a precaution.

“Should they develop symptoms, they’re quarantined in the hotel,” Staff Sgt. Brandon Smallwood said.

The soldiers have been on the mission for two weeks. So far no one has experienced symptoms, he said.

There have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus at Chestnut Ridge.

“We tested seven residents with zero positive results,” Administrator Melinda Huff said. Every facility has been given the opportunity to be decontaminated whether they have positive cases or not, Huff said.

Denise Ray is a Reporter with Appen Media Group and covers Forsyth county.

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