W.Va. Guard making progress on nursing home testing, increasing sanitization missions

By Maj. Holli Nelson | West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs | April 21, 2020

CHARLESTON, W.Va. —

The West Virginia National Guard is making progress in the testing of all nursing home facilities in the state, following an Executive Order from Governor Jim Justice to accomplish the task in coordination with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia Health Care Association.

 

Yesterday, two veterans home Testing will take place tomorrow at Morgantown Health and Rehabilitation for approximately 120 people and 14 other nursing homes have identified a need for WVNG assistance in conducting COVID-19 testing at their facility.

 

“We are working to meet Governor Justice’s intent to have all nursing homes tested this week,” said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, adjutant general of the WVNG. “Thanks to the work of our public health partners at DHHR and the County Health Departments, nursing home administrators and staff, all the laboratory workers and Lab Corps for the assistance in expanding testing capabilities, we believe we can come very close to meeting that goal.”

 

Since beginning operations in support of the state’s COVID-19 response 39 days ago, the WVNG has completed 553 missions through our four lines of effort of operationalizing of the event, stabilizing the population, providing logistical movement of critical supplies and conducting data analysis to combat the virus. Currently, 683 members of the WVNG are on duty serving the citizens of the State of West Virginia.

 

West Virginia Guard personnel are looking to expand sanitization lanes for first responder and public transport vehicles near five COVID-19 “hot spots” throughout the state. Today, a lane is being established in Cabell County, which will sanitize up to 50 buses and 30 ambulances over the next week. In Charleston, this team has sanitized 75 vehicles including ambulances, police vehicles and public transport buses to date.

 

In addition to conducting COVID-19 testing for nursing homes, Task Force CRE continues their missions of providing personal protective equipment (PPE) wear and proper cargo/box handling best practices to retail locations across the state and trained nine retail locations yesterday and will assist two stores today. They also provided PPE training to 11 long-term care facilities and plan to visit seven locations today. Members are also providing assistance for COVID-19 drive through testing lanes and to date, have trained 634 stores, 2,680 personnel and 37 medical or long-term care facilities.

 

Today, Task Force Sustainment, our team dedicated to receiving and moving critical supplies across the state, delivered PPE to 27 county emergency managers for distribution.

 

In the last 24 hours, West Virginia Guardsmen and women packed 2,258 meals at the Mountaineer Food Bank and 212 family meals at the Facing Hunger Foodbank. In addition, they delivered 15,000 meals from Tamarack to Peterstown and Mountain View Elementary Schools and 4,035 meals to Braxton, Wirt, Ritchie, Webster and Tyler Counties. Today, 4,690 meals will be delivered to Mercer County.

 

West Virginia National Guard medical personnel augmenting DHHR’s regional epidemiology teams were able to support 149 contact tracing engagements over the weekend. To date, the state’s seven regional epidemiology teams have conducted more than 3,164 contract tracings.

 

All current and future missions performed by the WVNG are a part of a coordinated state-level public health preparation and response effort for the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, initiated by Governor Jim Justice, and being led by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.