Montana National Guard troops transport 8 Montanans who had been quarantined in Georgia

Gov. Steve Bullock activated eight Montana Army National Guard soldiers for state active duty to assist in the arrival and transport of eight Montanans returning from quarantine at Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia.

The eight Montanans were quarantined at the Dobbins due to being in proximity of an individual with COVID-19 on a cruise ship.

Two Montanans remain at Dobbins quarantine area at their own request.

“During these uncertain times, we must look out for one another and do all we can to ensure the health and safety of our fellow Montanans,” Bullock said in a release. “I’m incredibly grateful to the Guard soldiers who answered their call to duty and took all safety precautions to ensure their health and the health of others in order to deliver these Montanans to their homes.”

The eight Montanans returned to Montana and were being transported to their homes as of March 15 by Montana National Guard soldiers. All eight are asymptomatic, but were tested by the Montanan Department of Public Health and Human Services upon arrival at the Montana National Guard’s C-12 hangar. The previously quarantined individuals were flown on a federally contracted aircraft to Helena, arriving March 15.

Three different state vehicles driven by soldiers transported the Montanans to Wise River, Helena and Great Falls, and lastly to Big Timber and Billings, according to the release.           

Prior to the transportation mission, all soldiers received thorough briefings covering items such as personal protective equipment and what is known about the virus now.

“Although there was no indication that Montana passengers were at risk of contracting COVID-19, out of an abundance of caution all the passengers and soldiers were wearing personal protective equipment that is recommended by the Center for Disease Control for transporting infected persons,” Maj. Gen. Matt Quinn, Montana Adjutant General and Coronavirus Task Force Leader. “We have exceeded the personal protective equipment necessary and taken all the precautions to ensure the safe transport of these Montanans while ensuring the safety and security of our soldiers.”

The soldiers will sanitize the vehicles after the transport and they will not be used for seven days. The soldiers will also be monitored following the mission by DPHHS to ensure they continue to be healthy.