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167th Airmen provide COVID-19 testing and other support

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Timothy Sencindiver
  • 167th Airlift Wing

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – Since early on in the global pandemic, the 167th Airlift Wing has supported West Virginia COVID-19 response efforts with manpower, resources and time.

The 167th Medical Group Expeditionary Community Testing Detachment for COVID-19 supported a community testing event Sept. 30 at the West Virginia University Recreation Center in Morgantown and will be supporting another event there this week.

“We were told to prepare to be [ready to test] every Wednesday from now until further notice, so we don’t have an end date,” said Maj. Lori Wyatt, 167th Medical Group lead nurse.

According to Dr. Lee Smith, Monongalia County Health Department executive director, although the county has a large health department, the National Guard is a force multiplier.

The testing detachment will also be supporting community testing in Grafton this week.

“We’re fortunate to have a large team here so we can split up and support both locations,” Wyatt said.

The team has performed COVID-19 swab testing in 22 counties in rain, snow, sleet and sweltering heat and has learned to be prepared and flexible as testing missions often change, Wyatt said.

More than 50 Airmen from the 167th Airlift Wing are supporting the state’s COVID-19 response.

In addition to the testing detachment, some 167th Airmen are supporting local health departments with voluntary COVID-19 mapping and others are supporting Task Force Sustainment - East.

Task Force Sustainment – East, a team of approximately 12 Guard members, is responsible for delivering personal protective equipment such as nitrile gloves, N95 masks, surgical gowns, face shields and hand sanitizer to locations in the eastern panhandle region of the state.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to serve and help the state,” said Master Sgt. Abel Guajardo, the noncommissioned officer in charge of Task Force Sustainment - East.