W.Va. Guard adds additional personnel, missions for state’s COVID-19 response

March 24, 2020

Today, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the WVNG, outlined his four lines of effort for the Guard’s response to COVID-19 in the state. Those lines of effort include:

• Operationalizing of the event
• Stabilization of the population
• Logistical movement of critical supplies
• Information and analytics to combat the virus

The WVNG will support the state’s coordinated response to this public health emergency by assisting partner agencies in developing an operational outlook similar to any other state emergency. In addition, we will work to stabilize and support the most vulnerable populations in the state to include our senior citizens and children; provide logistical support to responding agencies in order to get critical medical supplies to those healthcare facilities in most need; and build a network of intelligence, public health and epidemiology experts in order to provide trend analysis for our state leaders in order to make the best decisions for the health and welfare of our citizens.

“As I have said before, the men and women of the West Virginia National Guard are the best and brightest our nation has to offer,” stated Hoyer. “They are once again leading the charge to respond to our state’s need while also finding innovative solutions to critical problems and paving a path for the future, if and when we face a similar emergency. I cannot thank them and their families enough for the support they are providing during this unprecedented time in our state and nation’s history.”

Additionally, the WVNG is working with the state’s Department of Education and the Community and Technical College systems to action 3-D printers to help manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) that is in high demand or in shortfall for health care systems throughout the state.

Currently, nearly 100 members of the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) are serving the State of West Virginia by augmenting civil authorities, providing expertise to local hospitals and first responders and assisting 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.
• Five Soldiers provided capabilities for conducting COVID-19 swabs in Morgantown March 23rd and 24th utilizing PAPRS personal protective equipment (PPE), equipment that can be decontaminated and reused, greatly reducing the use of disposable, one-time-use PPE.
• Soldiers provided logistical support for delivery of PPE from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR) and West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (WVDHSEM) to four hospitals and health departments in the Kanawha Valley.
• The WVNG is building a network of epidemiology analysts from to assist DHHR with COVID-19 tracking and analytics.
• Initiated logistical pickup and transfer of 100 PAPRs and 4,000 canisters from Landover, Md. to be distributed through various health care networks for the most in need health care facilities in the event of a surge of patients.

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.