Snake River Correctional Institution

This picture of SRCI was taken from Stanton Boulevard, where it is located outside Ontario, on Aug. 26.


A seventh inmate in Oregon Department of Corrections’ custody to die who had tested positive for COVID-19 was from Snake River Correctional Institution, according to a news release from Oregon DOC on Tuesday. This marks the third death at that facility that is related to the pandemic.

According to the news release, the latest death occurred at a local hospital and the inmate was between 80 and 85 years old.

At SRCI, there are currently 394 inmates and 138 staff members who have tested positive for COVID, with 33 tests pending as of information updated on Monday. That is 143 more inmates and 43 more staff members than was reported on Sept. 9, showing numbers are still on a climb at the facility. There are 870 total staff and 2,908 total inmates at the facility, according to an update on Sept. 17.

In daily test results that are available for each of Oregon DOC’s facilities, it shows the number of employees who tested positive on Monday were five, with six inmates testing positive, as well. From Sept. 1 through 21, there were been 97 new cases overall at the facility with 37 of those being staff members.

Daily symptom screening is still continuing on the entire population throughout the institution, according to a Tuesday email from Amber Campbell, spokeswoman at SRCI.

“Should an AIC [inmate] require additional testing their housing is determined by medical needs,” she explained. “If AIC’s are moved to a different Housing Unit for purposes of isolation, they are allowed to bring with them personal property such as books, their TV, etc.”

As far as individual quarantines go, that is being done for individuals who have had close contact with a COVID-19 case to determine whether they develop symptoms, Campbell further explained. If symptoms develop within the 14-day quarantine period, the inmate is then placed under medical isolation for further evaluation, she said. If no symptoms develop, the inmate can return to their previous residency status, Campbell said.

SRCI is conducting contact tracing internally right now, she explained during an earlier phone interview. That information is then reported to the Malheur County Health Department, she said.

SRCI remains in a Tier 4 status, which means the entire facility is on quarantine. In an email update today, Campbell said that date has been extended through Oct. 3. Only four of the seven inmates who died that had tested positive for COVID have so far been confirmed by the Oregon State Police Medical Examiner to have died from COVID, including one at SRCI on Aug. 12 and one at the Oregon State Penitentiary on May 20.

The cause of death of an inmate on Aug. 20 at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution was found not to be COVID.

The results for the cause of death for two inmates at EOCI on Aug. 26 have been determined as COVID, according to information received from OSP on Wednesday morning. The spokesman also confirmed it was too early for results on the Monday death of the SRCI inmate.

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