SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - Close to 60 soldiers and airmen from the Illinois National Guard were deployed Thursday to help with COVID-19 response operations.

According to an Illinois National Guard press release, about 50 soldiers from the 1844th Transportation Company from East St. Louis will help with medical warehouse operations in central Illinois. Another six will help at the State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield, where their jobs will be to assist with communications, analyze virus response operations and give analysis for possible flood response operations. 

There are a total of close to 200 Illinois National Guard service members directly supporting pandemic response efforts. About 180 of those are on state active duty. 

"The Illinois National Guard is in constant communications with our state partners and is proud to support them in the fight against this pandemic," said Brig. Gen. Richard Neely, the adjutant general of the Illinois National Guard. "The dedicated men and women of the Illinois National Guard are willing and ready to protect their communities, state and nation."

The National Guard has about 50 soldiers from the 1844th Transportation Company (based in East St. Louis) helping with distribution at two central Illinois warehouses. These warehouses are home to medical supplies and equipment, and Guard members are working with the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police and other county and municipal agencies to be sure those supplies are sent quickly to where they are needed most. 

The release added about 30 liaisons and planners, including geospatial planners and medical planners, are active from the 183rd Wing out of Springfield, the 182 Airlift Wing from Peoria, the 65th Troop Command from Peoria and 108th Sustainment Brigade. They are embedded with the State Emergency Operations Center, the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications, Illinois State Police, and are serving at Camp Lincoln in Springfield.