WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — Boots from the West Virginia National Guard stepped into WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital Wednesday morning to aid in the pandemic’s frontlines.

Guard members began their training on laundry duty, bussing patients, and even serving food.

Governor Jim Justice issued out the help as Wheeling Hospital continues to battle a staffing shortage amid COVID waves.

Wheeling Hospital and Reynolds Hospital CEO Douglass Harrison rallied the troops for the day that lay ahead.

This is not politics. You’re going to see firsthand this is real. Every single emergency room filled. We had over 40 people in the emergency room.

It is exhausting. It is absolutely exhausting for our staff to work through this every single day.

Douglass Harrison, President & CEO of WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital and WVU Reynolds Memorial Hospital

Harrison says just last week over 50 Wheeling Hospital employees were out sick with COVID.

He told the guard members that while they aren’t in direct contact with the patients in the hospital, they will be aiding in every patient’s quality of life and they are bringing a huge breath of fresh air to the fatigued workers.

Just down the road at Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Glen Dale, National Guard members are also training.