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National Guard patrols Montana State Prison due to staff COVID cases

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Posted at 10:08 PM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-14 11:14:14-05

The Montana Army National Guard has extended their tour of duty at the Montana State Prison as dozens of staff members are quarantined due to COVID-19.

As of yesterday, the Montana Department of Corrections reports 136 staff members and 323 inmates have tested positive for the virus at the prison in Deer Lodge.

Late last month, Governor Bullock ordered members of the National Guard to assist with duties at the prison because of staffing shortages.

The soldiers were initially supposed to work until November 8th, but with an increased number of staff out on quarantine, 36 members will extend their service until November 19th.

The soldiers, who are not armed, will continue providing assistance with mail distribution, laundry, inmate counting, and meals.

Warden Jim Salmonsen said he appreciates the National Guard's commitment to helping the prison during this difficult time.