KEY POINTS

  • 96 inmates at Purgatory Correctional Facility test positive for coronavirus
  • 7 guards and 2 transport officers also test positive
  • 517 new cases and 6 new deaths were confirmed in the state Monday

At least 96 inmates and nine staff members at the Purgatory Correctional Facility in Washington County, Utah, have tested positive for coronavirus, officials confirmed Monday (July 6).

The outbreak began last month when three symptomatic inmates tested positive for the deadly virus. On June 25, officials confirmed that the number of cases had increased and a total of 15 inmates tested positive for COVID-19.

Speaking to ABC4, Monday (July 6), Jake Schultz with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office  confirmed that nearly 100 of approximately 308 inmates are infected. Correctional staff were testing each housing unit and only two of them were left to test. The official also told the channel that re-testing was set to begin July 6.

“This week is a big step. The negative quarantines that were there just as a precaution will be cleared if they don’t test positive today, and the original positive inmates will be moved to a negative quarantine unit if they test negative this week,” he told the channel Monday.

All the inmates that have tested positive were placed in three housing units and out of them, four individuals are considered high-risk. Jail officials told the channel that one of the inmates was hospitalized last week after he complained of breathing issue. He has since been released from the hospital. However, most of the inmates are asymptomatic.

“Most of the inmates testing positive still haven’t shown any symptoms, and the ones that have are experiencing mild symptoms,” Schultz told the channel.

Apart from the inmates, seven guards and two transport officers have also tested positive.

Last week, ABC4 had reported that all the inmates booked into the prison were given masks, however, only one third of them were wearing them.

“It’s only mandatory when they wear them when they come out of the housing unit or when they interact directly with staff. When they’re on their bunks, it’s much harder to enforce and much less reasonable, but when they’re out in the dayroom at the tables in the more common areas, we’re discussing whether or not to make that mandatory,” Schultz had told the ABC4 on June 30.

Meanwhile, the Utah Department of Health said 517 new cases and six new deaths were confirmed in the state Monday, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 25,469.

Texas governor mandates wearing of face masks in public Nearly 100 of approximately 308 inmates have tested positive at the Purgatory Correctional Facility in Washington County, Utah. Photo: Gerd Altmann - Pixabay