(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s prisons are not coronavirus hot spots. 

The state’s Department of Corrections said the Wisconsin National Guard wrapped up testing in the state’s prison system early this month, and concluded 99 percent of inmates did not test positive for the virus. 

“As of Monday afternoon, there were nine active cases of the virus among those housed at DOC institutions and 12 active cases among DOC staff, including those who do not work in the institutions,” DOC said in a statement. 

Corrections Secretary Kevin Carr said 24,395 inmates were tested between May 12 and July 1. Of those, 296 tested positive. DOC said most of those inmates, 230, were at the Waupun Correctional Institution. 

Carr said 285 inmates have recovered fully from the coronavirus, and nine are considered active positive cases. 

The numbers for prison guards and prison employees are similar. 

Carr said 95 people who work in the state’s prisons tested positive for the virus. Of those, Carr said 83 have recovered and 12 are considered active positive cases. 

“Mass testing has been a big part of our efforts, helping us identify asymptomatic individuals, more quickly isolate and quarantine them, and reduce the risk of transmission within our system,” Carr said. ““We wish the numbers were even lower, but the relatively small number of active cases is a testament to the leadership of our Emergency Operations Command team and the work of staff in our facilities to protect the persons in our care.”

Carr said his team at Corrections and the Wisconsin National Guard will start a second round of testing inside the state’s prisons beginning later this week. 

Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.

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