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Coronavirus In Ohio: National Guard Helps Collect And Distribute PPE For Prisons

Reserve soldiers with the Ohio National Guard gather personal protective equipment to be used in Ohio prisons.
Dan Konik
/
Ohio Public Radio
Reserve soldiers with the Ohio National Guard gather personal protective equipment to be used in Ohio prisons.

The Ohio National Guard’s Military Reserve soldiers have been helping out at food banks, but they are also collecting and distributing personal protective equipment to people who need it.

Ohio National Guard reserve private Nicholas Craig Wallace is one of the members helping the state collect PPE. And on this day in Columbus, he’s collecting and giving out masks for Ohio’s prisons.

“That includes 17,000 N-95 masks and roughly 44,000 dust masks," Wallace says.

The masks are being donated by companies and individuals.

Hundreds of prison staff members and inmates have been infected with COVID-19, with major outbreaks forcing quarantines in more than half of Ohio’s 28 prisons.

There have been at least three deaths and many ill staff members at the Pickaway Correctional Institution that at least 30 members of the Ohio National Guard have been deployed to help.

On Friday, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said National Guard members are now being trained to help at the Marion Correctional Institution, where more than a quarter of employees have tested positive for COVID-19. A spokeswoman said guard members will assist with "mission critical functions."

The State Highway Patrol is currently providing security at the prison's perimeter. 

Do you have questions about Ohio's coronavirus response?  Ask below as part of WOSU's Curious Cbus project.

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Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.