W.Va. Guard update on COVID-19 response

By Maj. Holli Nelson | April 22, 2020

CHARLESTON, W.Va. —

The West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) continues to make progress in the testing of all nursing home facilities in the state, in coordination with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia Health Care Association.

Members of Task Force CRE and Task Force Medical conducted COVID-19 testing at Morgantown Health and Rehabilitation today for more than 120 staff members, who in turn tested patients in the facility. This marks the third facility to undergo testing by the WVNG this week and to date, this team has tested 1,217 people as a part of their response mission.

The West Virginia Guard will also assist in COVID-19 testing at numerous state hospitals starting tomorrow and by Friday will have completed four of the seven locations in the state.

In addition to conducting COVID-19 testing for nursing homes, Task Force CRE continues their missions of providing personal protective equipment (PPE) wear training to long-term care facilities and plan to visit 10 locations today. Members are also providing assistance for COVID-19 drive through testing lanes and to date, have trained 637 stores, 2,778 personnel and 45 medical or long-term care facilities.

“As we move forward in this response to COVID-19, the Guard is looking at the long-term needs of the state and how we can best support this mission through innovation and best practices,” said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, adjutant general of the WVNG. “We are going to leverage the unique capabilities of our Guard personnel, specifically in our CBRN, cyber, medical and logistics realms, to ensure West Virginia as a whole is best prepared for what we may face in the future.”

Since beginning operations in support of the state’s COVID-19 response 40 days ago, the WVNG has completed 582 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, 698 members of the WVNG are on duty serving the citizens of the State of West Virginia.

West Virginia Guard personnel assisting in sanitization lanes for first responder and public transport vehicles have sanitized 97 vehicles in two locations – Huntington and Charleston – which includes ambulances, police vehicles and public transport buses.

Delivery of 500 sanitized N95 masks to Thomas Health Systems in Charleston took place yesterday. An additional 200 N95 masks will be sanitized today using the WVNG’s mobile hydrogen peroxide vapor sanitizing trailer.

Today, Task Force Sustainment, our team dedicated to receiving and moving critical supplies across the state, continues their mission of distributing PPE to various county emergency managers and will be picking up 32 drums of hand sanitizer to be broken down and distributed where needed.

In the last 24 hours, West Virginia Guardsmen and women packed 2,254 meals at the Mountaineer Food Bank and 360 family meals at the Facing Hunger Foodbank. In addition, they will deliver 4,520 meals to Greenbrier, Raleigh and Ohio Counties today.

West Virginia National Guard medical personnel augmenting DHHR’s regional epidemiology teams were able to support 164 contact tracing engagements yesterday. To date, the state’s seven regional epidemiology teams have conducted more than 3,328 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.

B-roll footage of current and ongoing WVNG missions are available at: www.dvidshub.net/units/wv-ang