167th Airmen provide COVID-19 testing and other support

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle
  • 167th Airlift Wing

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 last Wednesday at the West Virginia University Recreation Center in Morgantown W.Va., 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 Major 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 for getting tasks done.

The testing detachment will also be supporting community testing in Grafton, W.Va. 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, according to Wyatt.

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

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 Guardsmen, is responsible for the delivery of 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,” Master Sgt. Abel Guajardo, the non-commissioned officer in charge of Task Force Sustainment - East.