The Illinois National Guard says it is not being brought in to enforce a quarantine in the Chicago area.
The organization took to social media Thursday to dispel rumors after video began circulating showing a train carrying military vehicles moving through some suburbs.
"There are a lot of rumors going around about the Illinois National Guard being activated to enforce a quarantine in Chicago or other areas of the state. Some even have video of a train moving military equipment near the city," they wrote on Facebook. "We confirmed with our logistics officer that we haven't had trains moving Illinois National Guard equipment through Chicago in more than a month. These are not our vehicles. The military moves equipment all the time. This has nothing to do with COVID-19 response."
Gov. J.B. Pritzker activated the Illinois National Guard earlier this week to help with the state’s response to the novel coronavirus. As of Thursday, the number of statewide cases had topped 400.
"The majority of these (about 45) are medical with the mission of setting up a drive-through screening site. The rest are planners, including medical planners, and liaison officers," the National Guard wrote. "We have liaison officers embedded with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Illinois Department of Public Health. There has been NO discussion of using the Illinois National Guard to enforce a quarantine. There has been discussion of transportation, food distribution, construction (renovating mothballed hospitals to make them functional again or building temporary hospital space) and a few other missions - but nothing about quarantining the city of Chicago or shutting down highways or any of the other wild rumors that have been circulating!"
Many social media users started sharing old videos of similar trains moving through the area in previous years for context as well.
"People are understandably anxious about coronavirus. We will let people know as troops are activated for additional missions," the organization wrote. "Please remember, the National Guard is a community-based organization. We are your neighbors, your friends, your relatives, your co-workers - we are you. We're all in this together and we'll get through it together. Stay safe!"