(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) State prison officials said an inmate at a St. Joseph prison fell sick more than three weeks ago and was the first to test positive for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.
The inmate, identified only as an offender at Western Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in St. Joseph was isolated soon after health care staff suspected a respiratory illness, according to the Missouri Department of Corrections statement Monday evening.
The inmate was moved from WRDCC Thursday and is being treated at a Kansas City-area hospital.
Officials said before the inmate checked into the hospital on March 19, they were being monitored for a respiratory condition and had been isolated in a negative airflow chamber at WRDCC since March 4.
The inmate had no contact with other offenders since March 4, according to the statement.
Officials said they have notified Missouri’s health department and there are no reported cases of COVID-19 among staff.
“Medical and custody staff have followed all safety protocols to minimize exposure. Staff interacting with the offender have worn personal protective equipment in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines,” according to the statement.
Officials also said all staff who have been in contact with the inmate have been notified.
The Governor canceled normal visitations at Missouri prisons on March 12.
Missouri Dept. of Corrections posts public information and updates about COVID-19 on the department’s status page.