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22 inmates test positive for coronavirus at southeast Missouri prison

22 inmates test positive for coronavirus at southeast Missouri prison

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JEFFERSON CITY — Twenty-two inmates at Southeast Correctional Center in Charleston, Missouri, have tested positive for COVID-19, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections said Thursday night.

Karen Pojmann, spokesperson for the department, said the department tested an entire prison housing wing after three inmates tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.

The department received 19 more positive results on Thursday night, she said.

"The Department of Corrections took proactive measures to gather vital data, contain the virus, and protect the SECC population by testing 146 people — all 64 housing wing residents and 82 staff members," the department said in a statement. "None of the staff members tested positive."

The department said the entire housing wing had been quarantined since April 15, when the first inmate was tested and placed in an isolation unit.

"While the wing is in quarantine, residents of the other three wings of the housing unit have been screened, with temperature checks," the department said. "All offenders with COVID-19 symptoms and their cellmates are relocated and housed in separate cells in an isolation unit pending test results."

Three staff members at the prison tested positive for the virus earlier this month. Those staff members were in quarantine, the release said.

The department said Thursday night that no other offenders at any other prisons in Missouri have tested positive for COVID-19.

The department also said it has distributed face coverings to all inmates and staff at every state facility.

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