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Colorado National Guard assists health department, department of corrections with COVID-19 testing

Army Soldier performing COVID-19 test

U.S. Army Spc. Michael Price, medic, 928th Medical Company (Area Support), Ft. Carson, Colorado Springs, Colorado Army National Guard, instructs a nurse from a long-term care facility on COVID-19 testing procedures, in Grand Junction, Colorado, June 3, 2020. At the direction of Gov. Jared Polis, the Colorado National Guard is assisting local and state officials by providing increased capability at local emergency operations centers and increased COVID-19 testing capabilities across Colorado. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. John Rohrer)

CENTENNIAL, Colo. --

By order of Gov. Jared Polis, Colorado National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are providing the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment additional COVID-19 testing capability, including at select correctional facilities in Colorado, through at least July 22, 2020.

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 that CDPHE requested.

“We are helping to provide the testing to identify and control any potential outbreaks within the Department of Corrections system,” U.S. Army Capt. Brian Doble, Task Force Test Support commander, said. “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, Colorado, and the Buena Vista Correctional Complex, in Buena Vista, Colorado. 

“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,” DOC Executive Director Dean Williams said. “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 among staff and inmates at these facilities. Prior to July 15, 2020, the testing teams conducted 1,300 tests at the facility in Buena Vista.

Additionally, CDPHE has requested CONG personnel to assist in receiving, assessing and processing COVID-19 testing kits at the CDPHE State Laboratory in Denver, Colorado.

Processing involves administrative handling and receiving, labeling, validating and preparing the kits for testing. CONG will fill a gap until civilian capacity is built.

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 war against COVID-19. 

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

We continue to protect our force and families and all Americans, maintain our readiness, and support our local, state and federal partners to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.