Virginia National Guard ends COVID-19 response mission


Capt. Wilifred Hale receives a COVID-19 vaccination from Sgt. Anna Carter Dec. 31, 2020, at Fort Pickett, Virginia. Hale is currently serving as the administrative officer in charge of the task force of Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen conducting COVID-19 testing across the state, and Carter is a medic assigned to Charlie Company, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Members of the Virginia National Guard are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the national rollout established by the Department of Defense and National Guard Bureau. Distribution of the vaccine will be in accordance with guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Defense and National Guard Bureau. (U.S. National Guard photo by Cotton Puryear)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — After more than 460 days spent helping with vaccinations, testing and administrative logistics and planning support, the Virginia National Guard has ended its COVID-19 response.

During its COVID-19 response, nearly 600 Virginia National Guard soldiers and airmen completed more than 1,100.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the tremendous effort from our Soldiers, Airmen, members of the [Virginia Defense Force] and state and federal civilian workforce in their support to the COVID-19 response,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the adjutant general of Virginia. “We also can’t thank our families and employers enough for everything they have done to make sure our personnel could focus on their missions.”

The soldiers and airmen supported more than 160 local, state and federal agencies in their extensive efforts.

“When nursing homes and assisted living facilities were being ravaged by COVID-19 outbreaks, Guard members donned personal protective equipment and selflessly went into these facilities to help test every resident and staff person for COVID-19. For months, dedicated Guard members assisted with both large and small testing events in communities throughout Virginia,” said Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver.

Many of the state’s mass vaccination centers were operated by members of the National Guard, helping to get Virginians vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Williams said the 16-month response shows the National Guard’s ability to respond to non-standard missions and use both military and civilian skills to complete the task.

VDF personnel helped staff the VDEM Situational Awareness Unit to monitor the pandemic and other disasters in the state.

More details on the Virginia National Guard COVID-19 response:

  • Conducted more than 210 community testing events, supported 280 congregate care facilities, tested nearly 180,000 Virginians, conducted N95 respirator mask fit tests with more than 4,640 health care workers and delivered nearly 482,900 pieces of personal protective equipment
  • Helped distribute more than 1,249,400 pounds of food, delivering and/or serving more than 38,300 meals to Virginians
  • Delivered more than 167,480 laboratory specimens in support of the Virginia Department of Health testing effort and conducted more than 18,600 calls in support of the VDH contact tracing effort
  • Conducted more than 200 vaccination events, administering more than 61,500 vaccinations, supported 21 point of distribution sites and provided administrative and logistical support for nearly 470,125 vaccinations
  • Performed 55,515 planning hours in support of local, regional, and state emergency management
  • VDF and VNG personnel filled positions in the regional coordination center for each Virginia Department of Emergency Management region helping ensure the efficient and productive coordination of the statewide mobile vaccination effort.
  • VDF personnel contributed significantly to the operation of the Commonwealth of Virginia Incident Management Team, served in key leadership positions and supported the Virginia Department of Emergency Management vaccination effort, helped track vetting and certification of fixed community vaccination sites, developed survey tools for initial site assessments and collected data to assess vaccination sites.

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