7 Hawaii National Guard members test positive for COVID-19 following DC deployment

Updated: Jan. 29, 2021 at 4:50 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Seven Hawaii National Guard members who deployed to Washington, D.C. to provide security for President Biden’s inauguration have tested positive for COVID.

HNN confirmed that the Hawaii Guard members assisted local law enforcement providing security at checkpoints at the bridges and thoroughfares that funnel into the nation’s capital.

The troops returned to Hawaii earlier this week.

[Previous coverage: 200 Hawaii National Guard members headed to DC ahead of inauguration]

A total of four planes touched down at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Military officials say soon after the Guard members’ arrival, mass COVID-19 testing began.

All 193 troops were swabbed before heading into a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Military officials confirm the seven Guard members who tested positive are from Oahu and that they are asymptomatic and isolating.

“A good majority are at home doing their restriction of movement. And then we have a few that are isolated at National Guard facilities and a handful at a hotel,” said Stanley Garcia, the director of military support at Hawaii National Guard.

During their deployment, Garcia says the Guard members wore masks and practiced social distancing when they could.

“Every day they got COVID screening while they were there,” Garcia said. “And each of the service members had hotel rooms to kind of isolate themselves from each other.”

The Hawaii National Guard members were among thousands of Guard members from across the country who deployed to secure Washington, D.C. after the Capitol attack.

Video of Guard members from other states, taking breaks together and crowded in a parking garage raised fears of COVID spread. A spokesman for the Hawaii contingent says they did take some breaks in a basement but tried to keep their distance.

This mission was the first time Hawaii Guard members had been deployed outside the state since the pandemic began.

“I’m very proud of everything our Guard members did,” said Garcia. “We’re going to continue to monitor and provide whatever assistance we can for every one of the Guard members.”

Another round of testing is scheduled for this Sunday.

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