At least 138 inmates at the Sterling Correctional Facility in Colorado have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Department of Corrections, and that number will likely rise soon.
“Given the insidious nature of this virus, we had suspected that despite seeing a relatively low number of inmates with symptoms, the number of positives was potentially much higher,” Department of Corrections Executive Director Dean Williams said in a statement Friday. “That is exactly why we conducted this large scale testing, so that we can continue to isolate, monitor and treat any inmates who were positive and try to mitigate the spread to others inside the facility.”
At least 473 symptomatic and asymptomatic inmates were tested for the novel coronavirus last week. Of those, only 255 results have been returned; 138 were positive, 104 were negative, 12 were inconclusive and one was unsatisfactory. The state is still waiting for the results of 218 inmate tests.
Inside the prison, inmates are largely kept in their cells to help slow the spread of the virus, the state said. Outside of showering or using the restroom, they remain in their cells. All meals and medications are delivered to inmates during the quarantine.
The facility previously had eight inmates that tested positive.
Prisons across the U.S. are struggling to contain the spread of COVID-19 inside their walls. At the Rikers Island jail in New York City, 367 inmates have tested positive for the virus while 235 detainees in custody at Cook County Jail in Illinois are currently positive for COVID-19.