WVNG to start dispatching soldiers to hospitals next week to assist workers

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Personnel with the West Virginia National Guard will be at Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC) next week to help hospital workers as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise in West Virginia.

State Adjutant General Bill Crane of the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) appeared on Thursday’s MetroNews ‘Talkline’ and said they’ve already trained 150 people in recent days at Camp Dawson and plan to train as many as 350 people for hospital work.

Crane said 25 guardsmen and guardswomen will be at CAMC next week to help with administrative duties such as greeters, COVID-19 testing at the front doors, moving patients around, and sitting in with patients.

“If we free up folks that are sitting at the front door, they can go in and help with patients. People that are trained providers can go in and do that function instead of some of the administrative,” Crane said.

On Wednesday, the state Joint Interagency Task Force and coronavirus pandemic leadership received authority to approve staffing requests from West Virginia hospitals as many facilities deal with shortages. Crane said WVNG has received requests from Grafton City Hospital and Ruby Memorial Hospital for help.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) confirmed hospitalizations rose to 843 on Thursday, including 17 pediatric confirmed cases. 216 of those patients are in the ICU.

The active case total in West Virginia is 14,817 as of Thursday, according to the dashboard. Wednesday’s total was 13,607 cases.

“In talking with hospitals across the state, I know the hospital association has been talking to them. I certainly expect we will see more requests as time goes, as this omicron variant continues to spike,” Crane said.

Crane said this help will show why WVNG is an organization of service

“We’ve got people that joined this organization to serve the people of West Virginia and our country. This is another example of how they can step up and do something to help out,” Crane said.

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