Virginia National Guard has more than 530 personnel ready or working on COVID-19 response


Drew Gebler, a Norfolk District architect, talks with local, state and federal representatives in the Hampton Roads Convention Center, on how best to convert the building into an alternate care facility. The Federal Emergency Management Agency tasked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate and recommend sites for Alternative Care Facilities in Virginia, and Governor Northam approved locations in Northern Virginia, Richmond and Hampton Roads. Norfolk District personnel, along with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia National Guard and emergency management personnel from local and regional governments are now meeting with health care professionals and representatives from area health care systems to plan how best to convert the selected sites to meet their needs. The Corps anticipates mission assignments from FEMA to begin construction on the Alternate Care Facilities shortly. (U.S. Army photo by Patrick Bloodgood)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia National Guard has more than 530 personnel working or ready to support the COVID-19 response in Virginia.

The National Guard says they are helping planning teams and assisting with logistics support for several Virginia Department of Emergency Management regions.

They are also staged and ready at certain locations across the state to help with testing, personal protection equipment training and commodity distribution, the National Guard wrote in a news release Wednesday.

Virginia’s National Guard was activated March 12 after an emergency declaration. The activation allows personnel to help COVID-19 response missions — but does not mean the personnel will “local people in their homes,” the National Guard has said.

Members of the National Guard assigned to the Richmond-based 34th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosives Enhanced Response Force Package are also helping teach how to properly use personal protective equipment and take samples for COVID-19 when given test kits.

“I am extremely proud of the great work from our personnel supporting Virginia’s COVID-19 response, and I know we are putting their skills, experience and knowledge to good work where it is making a difference,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the adjutant general of Virginia. “We are now posturing forces to be able to provide additional capabilities to help our fellow Virginians, and we will continue to work with our state agency partners to make sure any support we can provide will be ready when it is needed.”

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