Inslee requests extension of National Guard COVID-19 mission

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is requesting an extension of the state National Guard to continue their work on missions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter sent to the Trump administration Monday, the Democratic governor requested an extension of federal authority and funding for the National Guard emergency response operations through December 31, citing the rising cases of coronavirus in the state.

In the letter, Inslee notes that currently more than 1,000 guard members are assisting with food banks as well as contact tracing of the pandemic and operating community-based test sites.

More than 40,600 people have tested positive for the virus, and at least 1,438 have died.

The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms in most patients, and the vast majority recover. But it is highly contagious and can cause severe illness and death in some patients, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.