Graham Kilmer

All Inmates, Staff at Downtown Prison Being Tested

No confirmed cases among inmates yet, but 99 percent of tests are still pending. Seven confirmed cases among staff.

By - May 22nd, 2020 05:41 pm
Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Members of the Wisconsin National Guard were at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), a state correctional facility located in downtown Milwaukee, this week conducting testing for COVID-19.

At the time of publication there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among inmates, but 99 percent of the tests administered this week are still pending. There are seven confirmed cases among staff members. According to a dashboard developed by the state Department of Corrections (DOC), it is still waiting on the results of 99 percent of the tests administered this week to people in its care.

The National Guard reported that it started collecting specimens at the facility on Tuesday, May 19th and as of May 21st had collected 750 specimens. According to the DOC’s dashboard there were 653 tests administered to people incarcerated at MSDF, zero positive tests and 651 pending tests.

For the past two months, the DOC has been testing people in its prisons that show symptoms of COVID-19, according to Anna Neal, a DOC spokesperson. Starting May 7th, the department began expanding its testing to all staff and inmates throughout the system, in collaboration with the Department of Health Services. Neal said they completed testing at MSDF this week.

Paul Knapp, adjunct general for the guard, said it would take until the end of summer to test all state corrections facilities.

Currently, the DOC has identified 54 cases of COVID-19 among people in its care. It has administered 1,283 tests and is waiting on the results of 827 tests. Of the tests that came back, 402 were negative.

The dashboard indicates that there are more than 1,000 inmates in quarantine and 52 in isolation. Individuals are moved to quarantine when they have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Among DOC staff, there have been 34 confirmed positive cases as of Friday,  21 have recovered and 13 are still off-site.

To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among the prisons in Wisconsin, DOC has stopped accepting new admissions to its facilities.

Michael Hafemann, Superintendent of the Milwaukee County House of Correction, recently said there are approximately 23 individuals at the House of Correction that were supposed to be transferred into DOC custody. At least 105 inmates at the county’s House of Correction have tested positive for COVID-19.

For more on the spread of COVID-19 within Milwaukee County correctional facilities, see our coverage from earlier this week.

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