A dozen inmates and four employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center. This is the second-largest outbreak in the Washington state prison system.

All of the prison’s inmates will be quarantined in their units for 10 days starting Tuesday. All classes and other programming will be suspended.

The Department of Corrections is shelving the food factory at Coyote Ridge, where inmates produce meals for the entire prison system and dozens of customers outside the walls of the facility.

The DOC said employees at Coyote Ridge are conducting contact tracing to identify those who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. Employees have increased testing and are testing incarcerated individuals as soon as they are symptomatic.

A DOC spokesman said the factory at Coyote Ridge was expected to remain closed only during the 10-day quarantine. He said the agency keeps extra food in store for such disruptions.

The DOC said six of the twelve infected inmates have been transferred to Airway Heights, outside of Spokane, where the department has set up beds in the prison chapel serving inmates infected with COVID-19.

The DOC has confirmed as of Memorial Day, there are 40 cases of COVID-19 among people incarcerated at its prisons and work-release facilities, plus 43 employees have tested positive including the first death of a DOC officer last week.

Moving forward, incarcerated individuals who show symptoms will be directed to don a surgical mask to immediately prevent potential spread of a virus and placed in isolation.

Their cellmates will be immediately quarantined until they can be evaluated by a medical provider. DOC nursing staff will perform initial screening assessments then notify a health care practitioner for further evaluation and testing as needed.


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