GRAFTON, W.Va. – Members of the West Virginia National Guard are preparing to help Grafton City Hospital as the number of COVID cases begins to overwhelm the staff.
On Thursday, Governor Jim Justice, the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) and the West Virginia COVID-19 pandemic leadership team approved immediate assistance to help the hospital’s staffing shortages and to relieve the stressed hospital system.
“We must keep our hospitals operating fully,” Gov. Justice said. “I firmly believe that by reassigning our valued Guard members to this mission, West Virginia’s hospitals can get back up to capacity to care for our residents.”
National Guard officials said they are fully prepared to assist hospitals.
“A team of liaison officers and representatives from our JIATF have been conducting assessments today with our hospitals that are in need,” said Maj. Gen. Bill Crane, the Adjutant General of the WVNG. “The National Guard is ready, as always, to support the State of West Virginia at the Governor’s direction.”
As of Thursday, Jan. 14, only two hospitals in West Virginia have requested the help of the National Guard: Grafton City Hospital and the Charleston Area Medical Center.
Hospitals’ leadership are able to request extra staffing assistance from their local emergency manager due to COVID surges. The request is then sent to the JIATF team and reviewed by pandemic leadership and approved by the Governor.