Missouri Department of Corrections: No positive cases of COVID-19 in prison system

The inmate who tested positive at the Western Reception, Diagnositc and Correctional Center in St. Joseph has now tested negative twice for coronavirus, according to the Missouri DOC.

Posted: Apr 1, 2020 3:07 PM
Updated: Apr 1, 2020 3:13 PM

(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.) The Missouri Department of Corrections said there are no positive cases of COVID-19 in the state's prison system.

Director Anne Precythe made the statement during Governor Mike Parson's press briefing on Tuesday.

The inmate who tested positive at the Western Reception, Diagnositc and Correctional Center in St. Joseph has now tested negative twice for coronavirus, according to Precythe.

The prisoner had been monitored for a respiratory condition from March 4 to March 19 before being admitted to a Kansas City area hospital.

Precythe said a total of 20 prisoners have been tested. Fourteen offenders tested negative while five results are still pending.

Two Missouri DOC staff members have tested positive and are in isolation. Precythe said those staff members do not work in prisons.

Precythe said prisons across the state are screening all incoming offenders from county facilities and medical staff is on-site at all prisons 24 hours a day.

On March 12, the Missouri DOC suspended visitations. It also suspended inmate transfers between prisons in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"Managing communicable diseases in prison is not new," Precythe said. "Every year we prepare for the flu and are forced to contain and isolate those that are impacted to prevent the spread of the disease."

Offenders working in 22 factories in 12 prisons across the state are also helping in the fight against coronavirus, according to Precythe. Inmates at a factory in Cameron have increased production of toilet paper by 20 percent manufacturing 3,500 cases of tissue each week. Inmate at two other factories have also produced 6,800 gallons of sanitizer and more than 4,000 medical gowns.

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A weak front will move out of northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas Sunday morning giving the region a slight chances for showers before sunrise. A southeast wind will pick up Sunday around 10 to 15 mph, sunshine will return, and temperatures will warm into the upper 70s.
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