‘We’re not enforcing ‘Safer at Home:’ WI National Guard trains for COVID-19 specimen collection

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MADISON -- The number of positive cases of the coronavirus rose to 628 in Wisconsin Wednesday, March 25 -- with two more deaths reported in the state, for a total of seven. Four of those deaths were in Milwaukee County.

The sixth death was reported in Dane County Wednesday -- the first death in that county -- a person in their 70s. Dane County was the first in Wisconsin to report a positive case of COVID-19 on Feb. 5. That person recovered.

The Milwaukee County medical examiner reported the coronavirus-related death of a 60-year-old man Wednesday morning.

FOX6 News on Wednesday spoke with Wisconsin Army National Guard Captain Joe Trovato, with troops training in preparation for potential specimen collection missions in support of the state’s COVID-19 response -- anticipated missions the Wisconsin National Guard could conduct at the request of partner agencies in Wisconsin. Officials said Wednesday the Wisconsin National Guard had not received any requests for assistance. However, more than 300 citizen soldiers and airmen were on state active duty, ready for potential missions the state could request.

WI National Guard trains for COVID-19 specimen collection

Joe Trovato

Joe Trovato

"We're really standing by to assist in any way that we can, and trying to lean forward, and anticipate where the state might need us," said Trovato.

Trovato said you should not be alarmed should you see National Guard members in your community.

"At this point, they're preparing for specimen collection missions, potentially," said Trovato. "They're also assisting with various logistics issues, even moving supplies around the state."

This, as Governor Tony Evers' "Safer at Home" order took effect at 8 a.m. Wednesday, closing businesses nonessential businesses, banning gatherings of any size, and imposing month-long travel restrictions in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

WI National Guard trains for COVID-19 specimen collection

WI National Guard trains for COVID-19 specimen collectionWithout changes to limit the spread of COVID-19, models show that up to 1,000 people in the state could die and more than 22,000 would contract the virus by April 8, exceeding the number of hospital beds, said state Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm on Tuesday.

"We're not enforcing any quarantines," said Trovato. "We're not enforcing the 'Safer at Home' initiative from the governor's office. We're here to lend a helping hand where we can, and help our fellow citizens get through this."

Among the Wisconsin National Guard reservists are business owners, factory workers, and teachers -- people in every day positions ready to respond.

"We feel like we're neighbors helping neighbors, and we're proud to be a small part of this all of Wisconsin effort to try and combat the COVID-19 virus," said Trovato.

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