Entire prison on quarantine, as COVID-19 hits staff, inmates

All the inmates at Snake River Correctional Institution, pictured here, are currently in quarantine due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

ONTARIO — The novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has finally impacted both staff and inmates at Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario, with eight cases reported as of June 30.

According to an update on prisons throughout the state listed on the Oregon Department of Corrections’ website, 3,156 inmates are in quarantine and four are in medical isolation. According to ODOC, the facility has a capacity of about 3,050.

Quarantining is done in a 14-day period to confine “individuals who have had close contact with a COVID-19 case to determine whether they develop symptoms of the disease,” ODOC says.

SRCI is listed as a Tier 4 case, meaning the entire institution is being quarantined for 14 days, and inmates would only be transferred for life-saving measures.

“Ideally, each quarantined individual would be quarantined in a single cell with solid walls and a solid door that closes,” reads the information on ODOC’s website. It is unknown at this time whether single cells are available for the entire population at Snake River Correctional Institution.

Of the 40 inmates tested, the results show one positive. The other seven positive tests are staff members, according to ODOC.

There are 180 positive cases among inmates at prisons throughout the state, with 161 of those having recovered, and one death of an inmate who had tested positive for COVID-19.

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