KINGWOOD, W.Va. — The West Virginia National Guard is preparing for a possible surge in the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic by training its soldiers how to help in local hospitals.

Nearly one hundred fifty airmen and soldiers were trained at Camp Dawson in Preston County today. The accelerated medical and hospital support training teaches soldiers what to expect if they get stationed in a hospital setting.

“That supporting role will be things that we can do that will be non-patient care; that can free up nurses and nurse’s assistants to let them be more effective in what they need to do to help patients within the hospitals,” said Brig. Gen. Gene Holt of the WV National Guard.

The National Guard Covid Response Commander said it’s important for soldiers to learn hospital terminology and protocol so they can be prepared to support the hospital’s staff.

Chief Case Manager Lt. Col. John Snedegar said, “It can be a little unsettling if you’re not medically inclined or have that knowledge it could be scary actually and so we’re going to do a lot of basic stuff with them as far as medical terminolgy, body mechanics, things that you may look out for that you could report to a nurse or a doctor at the hospital.”

Training will continue through the weekend as part of the state’s COVID-19 response mission.