By Maj. Holli Nelson
West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs
Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG), issues the following statement concerning the Guard’s current preparations in response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19):
Governor Jim Justice has directed the West Virginia National Guard to provide the appropriate level of support to this ongoing situation, as we have done in all previous state emergencies. The West Virginia Guard stands ready to respond to the needs of our state.
The WVNG’s Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy (MCA), located at Camp Dawson in Preston County, will remain open during the statewide school closure announced today by Governor Justice. The MCA is a 22-week residential course for selected at-risk youth from around the state. Students live and attend the school at Camp Dawson, and therefore do not come in contact with the general population.
The WVNG will be taking prudent steps in the coming days and weeks to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 for our Soldiers, Airmen, civilians and their families and the impact it may have on training, travel and work schedules. At this time, we have not implemented any changes to our individual and unit training schedules. We are preparing our force for this rapidly evolving global situation and are implementing steps to educate and safeguard our people across the state. Our number one focus is our service members and their families.
There are currently no changes to the access of WVNG facilities across the state. Our Child Development Center, located at our Joint Forces Headquarters in Charleston, will remain open.
The WVNG is working with leaders from numerous state agencies to develop plans to minimize the impact of the current school closures in West Virginia and we will be working with our National Guard families to do the same. Once details are finalized, more information will be provided to the public. Our organization stands ready to assist all West Virginians during this public health threat.
We urge all West Virginians to follow the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, and your local Department of Health.
The WVDHHR has established a 24-hour hotline to address public and medical provider questions and concerns regarding COVID-19 at 1-800-887-4304. For the most up-to-date information, please visit www.coronavirus.wv.gov or www.cdc.gov/COVID19.
The citizens of West Virginia should rest assured that Governor Justice has directed our force to be prepared to support the health, safety and welfare of our great state, as we always do.