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COVID-19 inmate cases soar at North Dakota state prison

November 2, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State corrections officials say coronavirus cases involving inmates at the North Dakota State Penitentiary have soared to the highest number to date in the pandemic.

North Dakota Department of Corrections officials said that out of more than 525 inmates, active positives among inmates jumped from 17 last week to 63 this week. And active positives for staff jumped from 14 last week to 19 Monday.

“Our medical team, they were aware. They knew this was coming. Our facility staff, all of that. Of course, it is nothing that we want to see,” said Kayli Richards, director of communications for North Dakota Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Richards adds that “COVID spread in a congregated setting is extremely difficult to avoid,” and says staff and medical professionals are working around the clock to mitigate the spread, KFYR-TV reported.

The facility has exceeded its isolation space and is using the gym as an infirmary for COVID positive inmates.

No inmates have been sent to the hospital with COVID, but some individuals have continued to quarantine after an isolation period is complete due to their symptoms.