Coyote Ridge Correctional Center in Connell, Washington.

Coyote Ridge Correctional Center in Connell, Washington.

Eastern Washington prison reports 220 COVID-19 cases

Coyote Ridge in Connell is now allowing inmates who have tested positive to be housed together.

Associated Press

TRI-CITIES, Wash. — About 220 officers and inmates at a Washington state prison have tested positive for COVID-19, nearly doubling since restricting movement in its medium-security unit last month.

The state Department of Corrections brought in the Washington National Guard last week to administer coronavirus testing at the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center.

The results showed 171 inmates and 47 staff members tested positive Tuesday, the Tri-City Herald reported. Two inmates died.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and lead to death.

Coyote Ridge, located in Connell about 100 miles southwest of Spokane, has minimum- and medium-security units. All employees in both units, and all inmates in the medium-security unit will now be regularly tested, the department said.

Employees are tested before their shift, and will be repeatedly tested every seven days until further notice, officials said. Only employees who previously tested positive will be exempt from further testing.

Inmates who test negative will be tested a second time, then will remain housed together. Temporary housing was created at Coyote Ridge to allow inmates who have tested positive to also be housed together, Superintendent Jeffrey Uttecht said.

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