COVID-19 cases are also increasing in prisons and prisons in Utah


As the omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to push the number of cases in Utah to new highs, cases are also skyrocketing in state prisons and prisons.

The Davis County Jail is experiencing a new outbreak after the facility was COVID-free for nine months. As of last week, 24 individuals have tested positive, and dozens more are being monitored for exposure. On Monday, the number of confirmed cases rose to 35, according to a spokesman.

The Wyoming State Prison in Draper is also experiencing a new outbreak of COVID-19, weeks after another inmate died of the disease in December. The 43-year-old was hospitalized when he died on the 18th. December, the Utah Department of Corrections reported two days later.

Prison in Utah

The prison system’s new COVID-19 outbreak was confirmed late last week in the Promontory facility at Wyoming State Prison in Draper, Utah Department of Corrections spokesman Kaitlin Felsted said Thursday. This facility holds male inmates who are participating in the Con-Quest inpatient substance abuse treatment program.

Of all the inmates of the state prison in Draper, 181 of 2,671 – or 6.7% of the population – were infected as of Thursday, Felsted said. At the Utah Central Correctional Facility in Gunnison, four out of 1,677 inmates, or – 0.2% of the population – have been ill since Thursday.

Of the combined population of prisons, 60% to 92% are vaccinated, depending on the facility, according to the regulator. COVID-19 website. In Draper’s Oquirrh 5 facility – which houses the most medically vulnerable prisoners – 92% of inmates are vaccinated.

Most of the vaccinated prisoners, Felsted said, get a booster shot. The corrections department expects all inmates to receive a boost in their health over the next few weeks, the agency’s website says.

Prisoners are not required to be vaccinated. But Felsted said inmates’ families should encourage their loved ones to get vaccinated or get a booster shot if eligible. Inmates can request vaccinations by submitting an Inmate Care Request (ICR) form, which is available in their housing units.

According to Felsted, 19 employees of the Utah Department of Corrections were sick with COVID-19 as of Monday. Because correctional officers often move between facilities, she said staff case numbers are not available for specific prisons.

Any staff member or prisoner who reports symptoms, Felsted said, is immediately tested and isolated. Staff with symptoms have been asked to stay home.

Re-education camp staff and inmates are required to wear masks when social distancing is not possible. All detainees are provided with two face coverings, and they can request a replacement if the mask shows signs of wear, according to the statement. repair department FAQ site.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Prison staff work to safely move inmates from their cells into the common room to be vaccinated against COVID-19 during a vaccination event with inmates of concern at the Wyoming State Prison in Draper on Tuesday, July. The 27th of 2021.

Davis County Jail

The outbreak at the Davis County Jail was announced last week, after two individuals experiencing COVID-19 symptoms tested positive through rapid testing, according to a New information posted from the Davis County Sheriff’s Office. The prisoners were isolated from others and received medical treatment.

Other inmates in that housing facility were then subjected to mandatory rapid checks, for a total of 24 cases. By Monday, that number had risen to 35, or about 7 percent of the prison’s population of 480. Six other people are being monitored for exposure.

All staff and inmates will be screened, and each will also receive rapid tests every five to seven days for the next two weeks, the statement said.

“I am proud of our officers and correctional officers who have worked so hard and so successfully to keep COVID out of our prisons for many months,” said the County Sheriff. Davis, said Kelly Sparks. “These latest infections are regrettable and we will continue to work hard to care for those who are sick and limit the spread of this virus in prison.”

In an effort to contain the growing outbreak, access to the makeshift prison is only available to correctional officers, according to the release. The release notes that inmates can still visit with loved ones via video call.

About 38% of Davis County inmates have been vaccinated, the sheriff’s office announced last week. The county health department offers vaccine clinics at the prison every three weeks.

A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office said vaccinated employees must be tested for COVID-19 once a week, and unvaccinated employees must be screened at the beginning of each shift. All staff are required to wear masks regardless of immunization status.

To help prevent COVID-19, the prison has required everyone to wear a mask inside the facility. Contracted employees and suppliers are required to have their temperatures checked daily, and all areas of the prison are regularly cleaned. Inmates are also tested for COVID-19 and anyone incarcerated for the first time must complete a 14-day quarantine.

Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Davis County Justice Center, and Jail, on Monday, January 3, 2022.

Salt Lake County Jail

Nine inmates fell ill with COVID-19, or 0.5% of its 1,731-person population, said Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Brittany Karzen. On December 30, four inmates were infected, according to the office COVID-19 Dashboard.

The Salt Lake County Health Department provides vaccines to prison inmates several times a week. But because people spend an average of 24 days in prison, and they’re usually vaccinated on arrival, it’s difficult to get a count of how many inmates have been vaccinated, Karzen said.

Follow county COVID-19 dashboard, the county health department distributed a total of 889 shots at correctional and detention facilities.

No inmates have died from COVID-19 in the Salt Lake County Jail, Karzen said Tuesday.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, prison staff are required to wear masks. Other precautions include social distancing, increased hygiene practices, and minimizing exposure if an inmate tests positive.

Weber County Jail

Of the approximately 630 inmates currently held at the Weber County Jail, four are infected with COVID-19, or about 0.6 percent, Lieutenant Joshua Marigoni of the Weber County Sheriff’s Office said Monday. . Two employees fell ill on Monday.

Marigoni said Monday that about half of the prisoners have been vaccinated. Officers administered vaccinations to any inmates who asked for it, he said.

“We have regularly tweaked our protocols and have had great success managing COVID in our facility,” said Marigoni. The prison has not made any drastic changes to its procedures in recent times, he added.

Officials in Washington County did not respond to repeated requests for information about COVID-19 in the county jail. COVID-19 cases are also increasing in prisons and prisons in Utah

Yasmin Harisha

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