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Report: Gov. Justice appoints Mark Sorsaia as Secretary of Dept. of Homeland Security

WV DMAPS all-in on Gov. Justice’s COVID-19 response


March 30, 2020

W.Va. DMAPS all-in on Gov. Justice’s COVID-19 response


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – It has been an all-hands-on-deck response from the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety in support of Gov. Jim Justice and the fight against COVID-19.


DMAPS and its component agencies continue to assist Justice, the W.Va. Department of Health and Human Resources and other state, county and local partners to battle the pandemic:


·         The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management hosts and provides key staffing and support for the State Emergency Operation Center (SEOC), which is now on Full Activation and working around-the-clock. DHSEM also provides on-the-ground coordination with county and local emergency managers. Well before the State of Emergency declaration, DHSEM spearheaded education and preparedness efforts. It also assists with personal protective equipment and other vital materials distributions.


·         The W.Va. National Guard has deployed more than 250 personnel statewide so far in support of state, county and local response efforts. From helping to sanitize Morgantown facilities and packaging take-home meals for schoolchildren and their families, to managing the distribution of vital PPE to front-line healthcare workers and staffing the DHHR state lab, the National Guard is augmenting civil authorities through multiple lines of effort.


More about the National Guard’s significant role is here: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/366076/guard-ramping-up-efforts-combat-covid-19-encourages-flattening-curve  


·         The State Police has similarly deployed personnel and resources in support of the COVID-19 response. The State Police worked extensively with their fellow law enforcement statewide, providing and reinforcing best practices to minimize exposure and other risks. Troopers continue to provide front-line support to communities, health care facilities and fellow first responders.


·         The W.Va. Fusion Center actively performs real-time analysis regarding potential public safety threats and misinformation. It provides regular updates the leaders of the state’s response and helps verify credible sources of information for the public.


·         The State Fire Marshal’s Office has adjusted its inspection, examination and certification duties in accordance with the Stay at Home and other executive orders.


·         The Capitol Police has ensured that the Stay at Home and other executive orders and guidance remain in effect at the W.Va. Capitol Complex and other state government properties.


·         The Capitol Police and Fire Marshal’s Office have also helped DMAPS Secretary Jeff Sandy and his staff package and distribute more than 30,000 N95 masks. Over the course of last week, 20,000 of these masks have been received by emergency managers in all 55 counties for law enforcement (municipal police and county sheriff’s departments) and fire departments (paid and volunteer). Another 10,000 have gone to the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation for its facilities statewide.


·         DCR has developed and implemented a comprehensive COVID-19 response policy that embraces the latest information and best practices. It provides clear guidance and direction while also allowing flexibility so superintendents, other administrators and staff can make the best decisions for the health and safety of everyone in their facilities. DCR leaders also continue to coordinate with the W.Va. Supreme Court of Appeals while its Judicial Emergency declaration remains in effect.


Gov. Justice issued a March 23 letter to DMAPS employees, thanking all the component agencies and their employees for their efforts.


“As we fight this war against COVID-19, I do not take for granted the important role that you play to maintain the safety and security in our great State,” Gov. Justice wrote.


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LAWRENCE MESSINA (304) 957-2515 Lawrence.C.Messina@wv.gov