ELKTON, Ohio (WYTV) – The Ohio National Guard arrived at the Elkton prison in Columbiana County Wednesday.
As the job of helping treat inmates sick with COVID-19 at the federal prison has grown, so has the number of National Guard members deployed there.
“We originally sent 26,” Major General John Harris said. “We’ve sent a few more. We have 36 there right now.”
Harris said since arriving at Elkton earlier this week, members have set up inside one of the prison buildings to support the facility’s existing medical staff.
“The clinic care system there inside the facility is good, they’re just overtaxed because of this,” Harris said. “Anytime you put folks in a congregate setting like this, you risk exactly what’s happening.”
Harris said Guard members have been treating inmates who’ve contracted the virus and those who are not sick, as well as helping to take some to the hospital if they need more care.
“One of the other things we’ve done is augment some of the medical equipment because of the additional patient load.”
The general said the goal is for the deployment to end within the next couple of weeks.
“There are federal resources on the way but quite frankly, Gov. DeWine has said, ‘These are Ohioans. We’re going to take care of Ohioans.'”
Harris said while the Guard is capable of offering similar help to state prisons, nursing homes and other facilities where people are held close together, those calls haven’t been made yet.