Women’s Prison COVID-19 outbreak continues to grow according to DOC data

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — There are 42 active positive COVID-19 cases within South Dakota’s Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities, according to a release of numbers from the department on Tuesday. The data reports that one of these cases is among staff, while 41 are among the offender population.

Of the inmate cases, 20 are in the main Women’s Prison facility in Pierre, 11 are in the Women’s Prison Unit-E and six are in the Pierre Community Work Center, which is also a part of the Women’s Prison system. The single staff case is also at the Women’s Prison.

In addition to the 37 inmate cases at the South Dakota Women’s Prison, four cases have also been reported at the Jamison Annex at the State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls.

As of Tuesday, the DOC is not reporting any new deaths of inmates or staff due to COVID-19.

In October, we learned that the South Dakota Women’s Prison was in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak, with 21 inmate cases and two staff cases reported in their facilities. By October 28, the DOC had revealed that the women’s prison had a total of 39 positive cases within the facility.

According to the DOC, testing of inmates is still on-going, and staff are being tested based on the recommendation of their individual medical providers.

The DOC says that at this time, 75% of active inmates in the system have received at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Asked whether booster doses were being provided to inmates, a DOC representative said that inmates are being notified that booster shots will be available, and that those interested can sign up for an upcoming vaccination clinic.

Asked about staffing shortages, the representative stated that the DOC is facing a job vacancy rate of 15.1% department-wide as of the end of September.

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