CHARLESTON, W.Va. – At the direction of Gov. Jim Justice nearly two weeks ago, the West Virginia National Guard helped increase COVID-19 testing throughout the state.
Guard members, with the assistance of local health department workers, have been working around the clock the establish locations, advertise testing and collect test samples. In 13 days, 150,109 tests were conducted.
"The governor has been clear that we needed to increase our testing capabilities as a state in order to prevent further spread of COVID-19 in communities throughout West Virginia," said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, adjutant general. "Our personnel and the local health departments across the state have done an exceptional job of stepping up to the plate and working nonstop on the front lines to provide access to free testing.
"Our testing numbers have been on the rise and are steadying at a level that in necessary to identify and address community spread," he said. "We are working diligently to establish additional static testing locations throughout the state to meet increasing demand."
Members of the West Virginia National Guard are also supporting the state's pandemic response in other ways, with 472 service members involved in the effort.
To help prevent disease spread, Guard members are installing protective isolation barriers at nursing homes to minimize contamination. So far, 210 facilities in 27 counties have been sanitized.
Guard members have also helped assemble COVID-19 test kits, delivered personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout the state and expedited the transfer of test specimens to labs.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the WVNG has completed more than 2,614 missions.