COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS/NBC News Channel) – Hundreds of National Guard soldiers are still responding to COVID-19 in South Carolina, and dozens of them are helping out in the prisons.
The South Carolina Department of Corrections has had more than 2,400 cases of COVID-19 in inmates, and more than 550 cases in staff members.
Anyone now coming into the facilities has to go through rigorous health screening, which includes soldiers.
They have been helping to fill the staffing gap in prisons since May. The State Department of Corrections says it could not get through this pandemic without their help.
Officials there say most of the inmates at Broad River Corrections Institution should be cleared this week after they do another round of targeted testing.
The agency is also spending $1 million to install air purifier machines in its facilities across the state.
“General McCardy and the staff have done a tremendous job in balancing the mission with the health of the force; imagine getting up at two in the morning, being here at 2:30 and beginning to cook food everyday seven days a week,” said Major General Brad Owens, director of the joint staff for the South Carolina National Guard.
More than 400 soldiers are assisting other state agencies with needs, such as rural testing, and there are even National Guard members serving on the state’s vaccine task force.