WEST VIRGINIA (WDVM) — In only his first week back in the office after recovering from COVID, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has deployed much-needed aid to hospitals across the state who are continuing to battle the virus.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice is wasting no time picking up where he left off after taking just 7 days to recover from COVID. His next move was to get West Virginia National Guard soldiers deployed to hospitals in need of an extra set of hands.

“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.”

West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General, Major General Bill Crane explained that he has been planning deployments to hospitals with the Joint Interagency Task Force and the Health Care Association to meet the needs of frontline workers who are at the forefront of the most recent surge.

“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,” Maj. Gen. Crane explained.

As of January 19th, the West Virginia National Guard has received support requests from 15 hospitals, many of them requesting a start date as early as next week. Maj. Gen. Crane says hundreds of soldiers are heading to training so they are ready to answer the call from other hospitals and aid in vaccinations and testing efforts across the state.

Support requests by 15 hospitals across West Virginia.
Photo courtesy of the Office of Gov. Jim Justice

“We have about 180 other folks going to Camp Dawson and we will have them trained up by the 23rd of January,” Maj. Gen. Crane explained. “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.”

Just as he has throughout the entire pandemic, governor justice stressed the importance of getting vaccinated especially after recovering from his own battle with the virus.

“I encourage you with all in me, the vaccines work, the vaccines are safe. The booster is really important,” Gov. Justice said, in only his second COVID presser since recovering from the virus. “You’re helping us to not get overloaded at our hospitals. You’re helping the National Guard because these folks work so hard and now they’re having to back up our hospitals and everything. You’re helping us in lots and lots of ways.”

Maj. Gen. Crane says that 25 National Guard soldiers have already been deployed to Charleston Area Medical Center but hundreds more are set to be deployed next week.