COVID-19 cluster at Women’s Prison work center

Local News

There’s a COVID-19 cluster at a Department of Corrections facility in South Dakota.

According to the DOC’s website, since the pandemic began, 105 inmates at the Pierre Community Work Center, which is a part of the Women’s Prison, have tested positive for the virus.

The DOC says four staff at the center also have tested positive.

Three of those inmates and one of the staff members have recovered.

The South Dakota Department of Corrections couldn’t do an interview Thursday, but in a statement to KELOLAND News the DOC said it held a mass-testing event at the Pierre Community Work Center on September 14th.

Those who are positive have been put into isolation.

On Thursday, South Dakota Epidemiologist Joshua Clayton spoke to whether or not this cluster could cause increased cases outside the prison.

“We have not seen any additional increases that we’ve been able to–that we would consider associated with the South Dakota women’s prison, but we continue to monitor the situation as we’ve seen other clusters in the past,” State Epidemiologist Joshua Clayton said.

The DOC says inmates in Pierre are not being allowed to go out into the community for work release or community service.

Visitation, programming, and contact with volunteers is suspended.

The DOC says all inmates are required to wear masks, and staff are putting an extra emphasis on proper hygiene, cleaning, and hand washing.

Staff at the Pierre Community Work Center are wearing personal protective equipment.

No deaths have been reported at any DOC facility as a result of the virus.

Click here to see the full breakdown of COVID-19 cases among DOC facilities.

You can read the Department of Corrections’ full statement here:

“The Department of Corrections conducted a mass-testing event at the Pierre Community Work Center under the Department of Health’s guidance. Following the results of that testing, we were able to identify a number of cases and get those individuals into isolation. All inmates are required to wear masks, and DOC staff is placing an extra emphasis on proper hygiene, cleaning, and hand washing.”

SD Department of Corrections

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