WVa National Guard to increase personnel in virus response

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The federal government has authorized the West Virginia National Guard to increase the number of personnel on active status to support the response to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Jim Justice said.

There are currently 379 members of the state National Guard on active status. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will allow that to increase to 400. The federal government will reimburse the state for 75% of the related costs for these personnel, the governor's office said in a news release Monday.

The National Guard's state response has included producing and distributing personal protective equipment, performing virus tests, disinfecting vehicles and facilities, and virus prevention training for businesses, long-term care facilities, medical practices and residents, the statement said.

“If there is a state with a better National Guard, I’d love to see it, because our guardsmen and women in West Virginia are champions beyond belief and they’ve done an incredible job,” Justice said.