Michigan National Guard, MDOC to test prisoners for COVID-19 in the U.P.

Prisoners will be tested for COVID-19 at correctional facilities in the U.P. starting Monday

A laboratory technician prepares COVID-19 patient samples for semi-automatic testing at Northwell Health Labs, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Lake Success, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) (John Minchillo, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

LANSING, Mich. – Medical specialists from the Michigan National Guard are assisting Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) staff with COVID-19 testing at correctional facilities.

May 2, 2020: Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 43,207; Death toll now at 4,020 with 15,659 recoveries reported

Beginning Monday, soldiers will administer COVID-19 tests throughout facilities in the upper peninsula. Testing will begin at the Baraga Correctional Facility and will continue east to Alger Correctional Facility, Marquette Branch Prison, Newberry Correctional Facility, Chippewa Correctional Facility and Kinross Correctional Facility, officials said.

Soldiers are expected to test one entire facility each day -- about 7,500 prisoners in total.

“We are very grateful for the support from the National Guard in this effort to continue our testing of prisoners across the state,” said MDOC Director Heidi Washington. “Their assistance will allow us to accelerate our plans for testing our population, which will help us keep our staff, prisoners and the public safe.”

Officials say the COVID-19 testing will be carried out by 15, three-person teams comprised of soldiers and MDOC custody and non-custody staff. Most of the National Guard members assisting with this testing are residents of the U.P., officials said.

Samples collected at the facilities will be transported by MDOC to a lab for testing, officials said.


About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.