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    Guard ramping up efforts to combat COVID-19, encourages ‘flattening the curve’



    Story by Maj. Holli Nelson 

    West Virginia National Guard

    “Going forward, our force will continue to be a leader in the state in the response to this public health threat. We are urging all West Virginians to join us in practicing proper hygiene, maintaining social distance and avoiding gathering of groups of people to ensure we can flatten the curve here in West Virginia and protect our most vulnerable population,” says Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard.

    Currently, more than 250 members of the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) are serving the State of West Virginia by augmenting civil authorities through four lines of effort:
    • Operationalizing of the event
    • Stabilization of the population
    • Logistical movement of critical supplies
    • Information and analytics to combat the virus

    This week, the WVNG has supported the state’s coordinated response to this public health emergency by providing experts in the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) field to assist with proper personal protective equipment (PPE)wear and removal training for health care agencies and first responders, assisting with food box preparations and distribution in Gassaway and Greenbrier County, answering phone lines for the COVID-19 hotline, augmenting counties and agencies with liaison officers and building a robust logistical network for distribution of PPE across the state.

    In addition, the Guard is utilizing outside of the box approaches through a whole-of-society effort to fill any identified gaps and needs for the medical community while also developing a network of intelligence, public health and epidemiology experts who can provide trend analysis for our state leaders.

    “The work that the National Guard has been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time to assist our state is truly exceptional,” stated Hoyer. “These men and women have been working around the clock to develop plans, assist our healthcare facilities and workers, distribute critical supplies all while coming up with innovation solutions to the problem we are facing as a state and a nation.”

    The WVNG has conducted the following missions since coming on duty to support the state in all aspects of COVID-19 preparation and response:

    • 18 Soldiers have been providing assistance with food box building and distribution at with the Mountaineer Food Bank and with the Greater Greenbrier County Long Term Recovery Committee. Over the last 24 hours, they have assisted in the preparation and delivery of more than 1,251 30-day meals for families and seniors and delivery of 1,800 meals in Greenbrier County.
    • 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.
    • 19 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 120 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 PPE 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 hospitals and health departments.
    • 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 PAPRs and canisters to various health care networks in the event of a surge of patients.
    • Our CBRN field will continue to grow in the coming days in order to facilitate any needs of the state for COVID-19 testing or training of health care providers and first responders.

    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.



    Date Taken: 03.27.2020
    Date Posted: 03.27.2020 16:08
    Story ID: 366076
    Location: WV, US

    Web Views: 79
    Downloads: 0