CHARLESTON — During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Jim Justice was joined by West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Bill Crane, who announced that hundreds of Guard Soldiers either have already been or will be training to provide staffing support to hospitals throughout the state, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
Last week, Gov. Justice directed his Joint Interagency Task Force and his COVID-19 pandemic leadership team to immediately begin reviewing and approving requests from West Virginia hospitals for staffing support, which is being provided by the Guard.
“Our National Guard is doing all kinds of great work backing up our hospitals to make sure that they are fully operational,” Gov. Justice said. “We commend them for all they’re doing to support our pandemic response every day.”
“At the Governor’s direction, we quickly established a plan to support our West Virginia health care systems by augmenting them with service members from the National Guard, providing much-needed assistance for frontline workers in our hospitals,” Crane said. “We’ve been working with the JIATF and the Health Care Association to make sure we’re meeting all needs at this time.”
To date, the WVNG has received requests for support from 15 hospitals across the state.
On Wednesday, the WVNG began providing support at Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC) with 25 Guardsmen and women.
“We have about 180 other folks going to Camp Dawson – they’re already moving to get ahead of the weather – and we will have them trained up by the 23rd of January,” Crane continued. “Once we have them trained up, we will be able to meet the needs of all the hospitals that have requested help so far.
“At the Governor’s direction, we will continue to train additional folks, getting up to 350 service members trained up for this mission as we continue to do additional missions as well, such as delivering vaccinations and personal protective equipment, administering tests and vaccinations, and supporting our local health departments.”
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that the federal government is now offering every household in America four free at-home COVID-19 tests.
To get your free at-home COVID tests, visit COVIDtests.gov.
The CDC and FDA have authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 booster for use in children ages 12 to 15, meaning that booster shots are now authorized for all West Virginians ages 12 and older.
The CDC and FDA have also shortened the waiting period to get the Pfizer booster from six months after receiving the initial series of shots to five months.
The FDA has approved and is encouraging booster doses for all Americans over 12 years old.
Read more about booster eligibility at CDC.gov.
COVID-19 booster shots are available, for free, to all eligible West Virginians.
West Virginians can go to any location offering COVID-19 vaccines with their vaccination card to receive their booster. If your card has been lost, you can request a new one from the DHHR.
Initial series vaccinations are available, for free, for everyone ages 5 and older.
West Virginians interested in being vaccinated or having their children vaccinated are encouraged to visit Vaccinate.wv.gov or call the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965.
Information provided by the office of Gov. Jim Justice.