W.Va. National Guard reaches out in COVID-19 fight

The West Virginia National Guard is stepping up in a big way in the fight against COVID-19.
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – UPDATE 4/7/20 @ 4 p.m.
West Virginia National Guard members continue reaching out in many ways in the fight against COVID-19.

The unit reports Tuesday that it has more than 500 members helping distribute critical supplies where needed, and even helping process unemployment claims. It says by Wednesday, an extra 15 personnel will be helping out on that front.

Meanwhile, members of the Task Force Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Response Enterprise (TF-CRE) are helping flatten the curve of COVID-19 spread by training retail employees the safest ways to handle shipped merchandise. They’ve also been assisting with COVID-19 drive-through testing and at nursing homes in Morgantown and Charleston.

Furthermore, National Guard members have been helping out with food banks, including packing 450 family boxes at Facing Hunger Food Bank in Huntington. Altogether, the unit has distributed more than 58.500 meals throughout West Virginia.

They have also delivered 330 gallons of hand sanitizer to Jackson, Kanawha and Cabell counties, and their data analysts have been working with DHHR's regional epidemiology teams. They were able to support 266 contact tracing engagements to track the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.



ORIGINAL STORY 4/6/20
The West Virginia National Guard is stepping up in a big way in the fight against COVID-19, according to a release from the unit.

About 500 members are helping in many capacities, including assisting Workforce West Virginia process unemployment claims. Some will help in call centers to meet the increasing demand.

In addition, members have assisted in testing of more than 150 residents and staff from Eastbrook Center in Kanaway County. Its Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Response Enterprise (CRE) task force will train an additional nine establishments in proper cargo, box handling and personal protective equipment PPE wear. So far, this task force has trained 75 stores and 364 personnel.

Furthermore, the Guard has helped West Virginia University and Marshall University expand telehealth capabilities in some of the state’s most remote areas. It reports that it has packaged 825 gallons of hand sanitizer for distribution and picking up additional PPE from Maryland.

Members have helped distribute more than 672,000 protective gloves, 50,000 gowns and 75,000 surgical masks to facilities, as well as help food banks throughout the state.