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Wisconsin Guard team testing inmates, staff at county prison

Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are briefed before testing staff and residents at Sunny Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Sheboygan, Wis., April 5, 2020.

Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are briefed before testing staff and residents at Sunny Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Sheboygan, Wis., April 5, 2020.

FRANKLIN, Wis. – Nearly 30 Wisconsin National Guard troops established a mobile COVID-19 testing site at the Milwaukee County House of Corrections to collect specimens from staff and inmates.

Milwaukee County asked the Wisconsin National Guard to assist after multiple cases of the coronavirus were reported at the facility. Guard members reported to the facility April 18 and will collect specimens from about 950 staff and inmates for analysis at a state lab.

Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers and Airmen mobilized in response to a public health emergency declared by Gov. Tony Evers March 12. Since then, Guard teams have trained to establish mobile testing sites to collect specimens.

A team of 30 troops collected specimens from staff and residents at a Sheboygan senior living facility April 5.

The Wisconsin National Guard has fulfilled a variety of roles across the state since its response to the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Some 20 Citizen-Soldiers are assisting the Wisconsin Department of Health Services at a state warehouse receiving personal protective equipment (PPE) shipments from around the state, repackaging them, and redistributing them to areas in need.

Another team of six is helping with warehouse operations at an alternate care facility being established at Wisconsin State Fair Park.

Teams of 12 troops are serving as medical and administrative staff at two state-run voluntary self-isolation facilities in Milwaukee and Madison, while another 30 are serving at a self-isolation facility run by Milwaukee County.

Six Guard members are supporting the Dane County Coroner’s Office with mortuary affairs operations.

Six medics helped at a senior living facility in Grafton for three days after a COVID-19 outbreak resulted in a temporary staff shortage.

The Guard also mobilized more than 2,400 troops to serve as poll workers in 71 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties during the state election April 7 in support of the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

More than 450 Wisconsin National Guard troops are currently mobilized in support of the state’s COVID-19 response – part of a nationwide force of about 36,750 National Guard troops helping battle the coronavirus outbreak.

“We continue to work hand-in-hand with our partners across Wisconsin in state and local government to ensure the Wisconsin National Guard is in position to provide timely, efficient responses when our support is requested,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, Wisconsin’s adjutant general. “We are Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen who live and work in these same communities, and as your neighbors, we’re honored to be a part of this all-of-Wisconsin effort to fight COVID-19.”

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