(INTELLIHUB) — A National Guardsman has passed away from COVID-19 after being hospitalized for a week according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

A statement released by the DoD on Monday reveals:

A New Jersey Army National Guardsman passed away on Saturday. The individual had tested positive for COVID-19 and had been hospitalized since March 21.

“Today is a sad day for the Department of Defense as we have lost our first American service member – active, reserve or Guard – to Coronavirus,” said Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. “This is a stinging loss for our military community, and our condolences go out to his family, friends, civilian co-workers and the entire National Guard community. The news of this loss strengthens our resolve to work ever more closely with our interagency partners to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Starting in January the Department of Defense has adopted dramatic mitigation measures to protect service members, civilian employees, contractors and their families from Coronavirus. These include mandating social distancing, termination of certain work and training activities and providing testing and care for our community members.

National Guard troops can be seen in video footage throughout the country working on COVID-19 projects without the proper N-95 respirator masks which the CDC is now saying are mandatory to wear in public.

The fact of the matter is, U.S. supplies of masks and personal protective equipment also known as PPE are in short supply.

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