W.Va. Guard update on COVID-19 preparations and response

By Maj. Holli Nelson | West Virginia National Guard Public Affairsr | March 23, 2020

CHARLESTON, W.Va. —

Today, more than 60 members of the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) are serving the State of West Virginia in the response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The WVNG has the following missions taking place to augment civil authorities, provide expertise to local hospitals and first responders and assist with logistical movement of supplies to areas around the state.

  • 10 WVNG members are providing assistance with food distribution at with the Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway
  • Eight WVNG members are providing assistance with food distribution in coordination with Greenbrier County Schools
  • WVNG medical personnel are supporting the COVID-19 hotline in Charleston, answering calls and providing information to concerned citizens. Additional medical personnel are being assigned to provide planning expertise to state agencies in areas such as long-term care facilities, epidemiology and contact tracing support.
  • Liaison officers from the WVNG are working hand-in-hand with the various West Virginia agencies who are leading the response to COVID-19 to include the Department of Health and Human Resources, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and Department of Education.
  • The WVNG’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) Battalion, the 35th Civil Support Team (CST), and the 35th Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) have provided classroom and hands-on personal protective equipment (PPE) instruction to more than 80 first responders and hospital staff from Kentucky and West Virginia, in order to help prepare them on how to minimize cross-contamination through proper wear of, “donning” and “doffing” of PPE. 

 

 

“The men and women of the West Virginia National Guard have shown extraordinary tenacity, resilience and innovation over the past few weeks as we have faced an unprecedented challenge unlike anything we have known before,” said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, West Virginia Adjutant General. “During times of emergency, the West Virginia National Guard has made its mark as a calming force able to address any obstacle and handle new challenges. We will continue to be a leader as we work alongside Governor Justice, Dr. Clay Marsh, Dr. Catherine Slemp, and our various state agencies partners who are working night and day in this extraordinary battle.”

 

He continued, “Our organization will also take all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our force by following the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as WVDHHR. Our people and their families are our number one priority and our protocols and procedures for health screenings, social distancing, teleworking and personal hygiene will take precedence as we carry out our missions in support of this great state.”

 

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.

 

The West Virginia National Guard has a bench of nearly 6,400 experienced and proven Air and Army National Guard professionals who frequently train side-by-side with state and local emergency responders, making them well-suited for domestic operations.

 

Our National Guard members work and live in every community have a proven record of accomplishment supporting civilian authorities during and after homeland emergencies.