Northern Indiana prison on lockdown amid COVID-19 outbreak
BUNKER HILL, Ind. (AP) — A northern Indiana prison has been placed on lockdown after weekend testing found nearly 60 inmates and several prison workers were positive for COVID-19, a prison official said Wednesday.
After new coronavirus cases were found last week at the Miami Correctional Facility, a team from the Indiana State Department of Health visited the prison over the weekend to do rapid testing, said prison spokesman James Frye.
Before the weekend, two inmates and five staff in total had tested positive at the prison since the Indiana Department of Correction began testing at Indiana’s prisons for COVID-19.
By Wednesday, test results showed that 60 offenders and 10 staff members were positive for the COVID-19 respiratory disease, the Kokomo Tribune reported. A total of 238 inmates were quarantined Wednesday at the prison, which has a total inmate population of about 3,100.
In total, 75 inmates and 25 staff workers have been tested for COVID-19 at the prison, which is located in Bunker Hill about 60 miles (96 kilometers) southwest of Fort Wayne.
Frye said that inmates who are symptomatic or test positive will be held in quarantine for 14 days, and then released back into the general prison population once they test negative.
“We’re doing everything we can to make sure everyone is safe and healthy, including the staff and offenders,” he said.
National Guard units have been helping operate the prison since the second week of August, after several prison workers were stricken with COVID-19, creating a staffing shortage.
Indiana Army and Air national guard units have been deployed to other state prisons since May following the coronavirus outbreak.