Wisconsin DOC continues to test staff, offenders; increasing video visitation capabilities statewide

Published: Jun. 22, 2020 at 7:48 PM CDT
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The Wisconsin Department of Corrections is more than halfway done with testing all people and staff at its facilities for COVID-19, and updated numbers show the majority of those diagnosed with the virus have recovered.

According to the DOC’s online testing dashboard, there are six active positive cases among those housed at DOC institutions, and three active positive cases in staff members as of Monday.

“The entire DOC staff and especially our Emergency Operations Center team took proactive steps to protect both staff members and the persons in our care,” said DOC Secretary Kevin Carr. “These latest numbers reflect the tremendous job they have done, so far.”

The following is a breakdown of the testing numbers for those housed at DOC institutions as of Monday:

- Total Test Results: 12,779

- Total Negative Test Results: 12,510

- Total Positive Tests: 269

- Active Positive Cases: 6

- Recovered Positive Cases: 262

- Released Positive Cases: 1 (tested positive before release date)

- Current Number in Quarantine: 911

- Current Number in Isolation: 16

The following is a breakdown of testing for DOC staff as of Monday:

- Total Staff Positive Cases: 66

- Active Staff Positive Cases: 3

- Recovered Staff Positive Cases: 63

Testing of those housed in the DOC and staff began on May 12 with the help of the Wisconsin National Guard. Mass testing was completed at 22 of the DOC’s 37 facilities as of June 19.

The National Guard has fulfilled a variety of roles across the state during the pandemic and has collected 145,225 specimens statewide as of Monday. Ongoing testing operations by the Guard include those in Dane County, Forest County, Milwaukee County, Croix County and Walworth County.

As testing continues in DOC facilities across the state, video visit capabilities are continuing to be added to help those in DOC care to stay connected with loved ones while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

According to the DOC, video visitations have been especially successful at the schools, where youth have conducted 723 Zoom calls with family members since March 26.

So far six DOC facilities have video visitation capacity but by the end of June, 11 more facilities will have this option available, the DOC says.

While the DOC will continue to expand video calls to more facilities, many facilities have started working with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to finalize a date for in-person visits to resume.