NATIONAL GUARD DEPLOYMENT REACHES 540
West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer said 540 members of the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) are serving the State of West Virginia through four lines of effort to include: operationalizing of the event, stabilizing the population, providing logistical movement of critical supplies and conducting data analysis to combat the virus.
“Nineteen members of the WVNG are currently assisting Workforce West Virginia and have been receiving training to process unemployment claims to address the backlog of applications,” Maj. Gen. Hoyer said. “By next week, our service members will be fully trained and able to begin processing those claims, and in addition, more personnel will be added to assist with answering calls to meet increasing demands for assistance.” He also said vast improvements in claims processing to be made in conjunction with Workforce West Virginia and that another call center is being readied at West Virginia University and will be operational soon.
Members of Task Force Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Response Enterprise (TF-CRE) continue to ramp up their efforts to provide training to local retail establishments on proper cargo, box handling, and PPE wear in an effort to flatten the curve of COVID-19 spread. They will be providing training to 43 stores today in addition to the 27 stores trained yesterday. This team has also been working with county health departments to develop guidelines for safe social distancing in essential retail locations around the state.
So far, this task force has trained 125 stores and 523 personnel while also assisting with COVID-19 drive through testing lanes in Huntington, Grafton, Weston, and Brooke County starting today. Drive through testing support will expand to include Wyoming and Mingo Counties later this week and Hampshire County next week.
“Our mission of supporting the most vulnerable populations in the state continues to make an impact and in the last 24 hours we packed 423 family boxes at the Facing Hunger Food Bank in Huntington and 1,363 meals at the Mountaineer Food Bank,” said Maj. Gen. Hoyer. “We are adding an additional five WVNG service members to assist with increasing demand at the Gassaway location later this week. Our refrigerated trucks assisted with the delivery of meals to Mason and Wood Counties yesterday totaling 1,490 meals. To date, WVNG personnel have assisted in packing and distributing nearly 60,000 meals to those in need in the Mountain State.
“Today, our logistics team is continuing to provide assistance at St. Francis Hospital, alongside personnel from FEMA Region III, in the conversion of space to support COVID-19 patients while also receiving 5,080 goggles, 5,970 N95 masks, 3,300 gloves, 600 gowns, and 105 face shields. The team also distributed hand sanitizer to Jefferson and Nicholas Counties and Cabell-Huntington Hospital today. Our data analysts working with DHHR's regional epidemiology teams were able to support 205 contact tracing engagements and six expedited specimen transfers to track the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.”
Gov. Justice also reported that a patient at a nursing home in Wayne County has tested positive for the coronavirus and is being treated at a local hospital.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to them, all of our citizens that have become sick from COVID-19 and for the four that have passed on,” Gov. Justice added. “Keep praying for all of them.”
The Governor also thanked President Trump for approving his request for FEMA to fund 100 percent of the emergency assistance activities our West Virginia National Guard undertakes to respond to COVID-19.
“This allows full federal funding for our National Guard while still keeping local control of their activities under our purview in West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said.
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