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Colorado Guard tests for COVID-19 at corrections facilities

Colorado National Guard Spc. Michael Price, medic, 928th Medical Company (Area Support), instructs nurses at a nursing home in Grand Junction on COVID-19 test procedures June 3, 2020. The Colorado National Guard is increasing COVID-19 testing across Colorado as needed.

Colorado National Guard Spc. Michael Price, medic, 928th Medical Company (Area Support), instructs nurses at a nursing home in Grand Junction on COVID-19 test procedures June 3, 2020. The Colorado National Guard is increasing COVID-19 testing across Colorado as needed.

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – Colorado National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are helping test inmates and staff at select correctional facilities in Colorado for COVID-19.

At the request of the state, Joint Task Force-Centennial has employed Mobile Testing and Training teams comprised of nearly 70 Colorado Army and Air National members from more than 12 units to support correctional facilities and other sites designated by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).

“We are helping to provide the testing to identify and control any potential outbreaks within the Department of Corrections system,” said U.S. Army Capt. Brian Doble, Task Force Test Support commander. “This is an at-risk population considering the density of people living within close quarters, so we are happy to partner with DOC in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in Colorado.”

CONG is supporting the DOC at facilities in Canon City and Buena Vista.

“The support from the Colorado National Guard has been incredibly valuable to our department, and has allowed us the ability to test quickly and help mitigate and prevent the spread of the virus in our facilities,” said Dean Williams, DOC executive director. “Having the Guard as a resource is critical, and we thank all those who serve for their dedication.”

The CONG will conduct more than 2,000 tests this week of staff and inmates. Before July 15, the testing teams conducted 1,300 tests at the facility in Buena Vista.

Additionally, CDPHE has requested CONG personnel help receive, assess and process COVID-19 testing kits at the CDPHE state laboratory in Denver.

Processing involves administrative handling and receiving, labeling, validating and preparing the kits for testing.

Task Force Test Support has three mobile testing and training teams and a command and control element. The team has been traveling to sites across Colorado.

About 140 Colorado National Guard members are on duty in the fight against COVID-19.

CONG members receive daily medical screening and are on Title 32 federally funded orders under state control.

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