RICHMOND, Va. -- Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Virginians may have noticed an increased presence in National Guard officers across the state.
The Virginia National Guard has more than 530 personnel actively working or ready to work throughout Virginia as part of the state's COVID-19 response.
Responders from the Virginia National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force are set up at "key locations" across the state and assisting with COVID-19 testing, personal protection equipment training and commodity distribution.
Virginia’s emergency declaration on March 12, activated the VNG and authorized personnel to begin coming on duty to support COVID-19 response operations.
Since then, responders have been assisting operations, logistics and medical planning with the Virginia Emergency Support Team and in multiple VDEM regions across the state.
"VNG Soldiers and Airmen assigned to the Richmond-based 34th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosives Enhanced Response Force Package have extensive experience with the proper employment of PPE and operations involving hazardous materials and health protection protocols," the VNG said in a statement.
The responders received training to be able to assist with teaching personnel on the proper employment of PPE as well as how to take samples for COVID-19 tests when provided with kits.