Today, Governor Sisolak announced that effective immediately, the Nevada Division of Emergency Management and Nevada Department of Health and Human Services will be temporarily aligned with the Nevada Office of the Military for the duration of the COVID-19 public health crisis to ensure that the entirety of Nevada’s State Government is utilized effectively and efficiently in response to this unprecedented emergency situation. The Office of the Military is led by Major General Ondra L. Berry, the Adjutant General for the Nevada National Guard and State of Nevada. The Governor has not formally activated the Nevada National Guard for the COVID-19 response at this time.
“Now, more than ever, we must work as a team to deliver locally executed, state managed, and federally supported solutions to the COVID-19 crisis,” said Governor Sisolak. “To be successful across the State – from the smallest town, to every Tribal reservation or colony, to our largest cities – we must utilize every resource we have to act decisively and immediately. I’m proud of the action taken thus far by the Nevada Division of Emergency Management and the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, and I am confident that under the coordination of Major General Berry and the Nevada Office of the Military, our statewide emergency operation will become even more organized, responsive, and efficient.”
Under this alignment of Nevada’s statewide emergency operations, the Nevada Division of Emergency Management (DEM) and the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will continue to serve as the lead agencies tasked with coordinating and addressing the global pandemic affecting our State, but the Nevada Office of the Military will coordinate activities between DEM, DHHS, and other state agencies, and will report directly to the Governor’s Office.
The Nevada Office of the Military is comprised of the Nevada Army and Air National Guard. The Nevada National Guard has over 4,300 highly trained military professionals that serve both the great State of Nevada and our Nation. Maj. Gen. Berry is uniquely qualified to oversee DEM in this crisis as a retired Reno Police officer, and having over 35 years of military experience.
Additionally, in coordination with Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Thom Reilly, Governor Sisolak and Maj. Gen Berry enlisted the services of Caleb Cage, a former Chief and Homeland Security Advisor with DEM, to assist with Nevada’s efforts to respond to COVID-19. Caleb currently works as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Workforce Development and Community Colleges for NSHE. Both Caleb Cage and General Berry are temporarily assigned with the COVID-19 efforts, and will work in collaboration with other State of Nevada critical agencies to ensure the best strategies are being executed to address COVID-19. The temporary alignment between the Nevada Office of the Military, DEM, and DHHS will only last as long as necessary.
The Nevada Health Response Center will continue to serve as the centralized information hub for the State of Nevada’s response to COVID-19. Daily Situation Reports from the Nevada Health Response Center will be temporarily put on hold during this transition.