By Army Sgt. Zoe Morris
The West Virginia National Guard’s longest federal mission ends July 1, 2022, when the COVID-19 response mission transitions from federal to state-level after more than two years.
WVNG Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. William “Bill” Crane, said Gov. Jim Justice authorized the activation of 60 West Virginia National Guard personnel to State Active Duty (SAD) status, continuing COVID-19 support around the Mountain State through September 2022.
Following a large draw-down of troops in March of this year, the WVNG’s COVID-19 mission moved predominantly to transporting and delivering supplies around the state, including personal protective gear and testing supplies. Moving forward, the task force will be closing out the two-year mission, completing necessary checks and balances.
Since the beginning of the pandemic response, the National Guard has been under the command and control of their states’ respective governors but funded at 100 percent by the Department of Defense (DoD) under a mission assignment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as authorized by the President of the United States. After July 1, West Virginia may receive reimbursement from FEMA's Public Assistance (PA) program at a 90 percent federal cost share.
The WVNG has been mobilized since March 2020 to assist the State of West Virginia in the COVID-19 pandemic response. Since that time, the Guard has:
· Supported 5,779 Covid-19 testing lanes for more than 100,000 citizens
· Supported 11,187 Covid-19 vaccination lanes
· Conducted 146,568 data entries for contact tracing with local health departments
· Completed 5,194 delivery missions for personal protective equipment and supplies to all 55 counties in West Virginia
· Disinfected 644 vehicles and 365 facilities
· Supported 37 hospitals/long-term care facilities in 26 counties