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Members of Wyoming national guard deployed to California as part of coronavirus effort
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Members of Wyoming national guard deployed to California as part of coronavirus effort

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Infectious disease containment unit

Three U.S. Air Force medical Airmen exit a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft following the first-ever operational use of the Transport Isolation System at Ramstein Air Base, Germany on April 10. The TIS is an infectious disease containment unit designed to minimize contamination risk to aircrew and medical attendants, while allowing in-flight medical care for patients afflicted by a disease -- in this case, COVID-19.

Nine airmen from the Wyoming Air National Guard have been deployed to California as part of an effort to to address the coronavirus pandemic within the military.

The airmen are from the guard’s 187th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, and they’ll be stationed at Travis Air Force Base in the Sacramento Valley, according to a Military Department press release.

The group will set up a new “Aeromedical Evacuation Operations Team for the Air Force’s COVID patient transport operations.” They will act as directors of the effort, and their deployment is initially scheduled to last 120 days, “with a provision to swap members out at 60 days.”

“Specifically, the Wyoming team is tracking Department of Defense COVID patient movements, incoming and outgoing medical crews and aircraft missions,” Maj. Melissa Stevens, who leads the unit, said in a statement. “They are also responsible for tracking flight training and currency as well as maintaining 800 pounds of medical equipment for each aircrew, and the safe on and offload of the Transportation Isolation System (TIS).”

The isolation system was initially developed for the Ebola outbreak but has been repurposed and first used doing this pandemic “to transport U.S. government contractors who tested positive for coronavirus Afghanistan to Ramstein Air Base.” The Wyoming airmen will track these missions.

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Education and Health Reporter

Seth Klamann joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 and covers education and health. A 2015 graduate of the University of Missouri and proud Kansas City native, Seth worked for newspapers in Milwaukee and Omaha before coming to Casper.

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