The prisoners in Idaho worked in a food factory. They got a COVID.So did their bunkmates

This story was originally published on April 22, 2021

Inmates in Idaho, who worked in the community, probably obtained COVID-19 for their work and returned the coronavirus to correctional facilities and dormitories.

A New report released Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Explains that workplace-related COVID-19 outbreaks, such as food processing plants in Idaho, may have caused outbreaks at several facilities in the Idaho Corrections Bureau.

By the end of November, the coronavirus had infected a total of 382 people in five correctional facilities in Idaho with the work release program, according to the report. Two of the outbreaks were related to the food processing plant where the prisoners worked.

According to IDOC, prisoners were held at IDOC facilities in Nampa, Caldwell, Boise, Idaho Falls, and St. Anthony.

Infected with COVID-19 at a food factory in southwestern Idaho

The report describes how some of those outbreaks evolved.

First COVID-19 cases Nampa correctional facility Identified on July 14, 2020. The patient was a prisoner working at a local food processing plant, the report said.

The factory had already confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 among staff, but IDOC was unaware of it — until public health officials told IDOC on July 22.

“Subsequent (Ministry of Health, Idaho) guidance recommended that correctional facilities require a work release site to notify employees of COVID-19 cases,” the report said.

Among other efforts to stop the spread, the Nampa correctional facility underwent a mass test for COVID-19. Patients were quarantined and their close contact was quarantined.

A total of 75 prisoners were eventually infected with COVID-19. (The facility accommodates up to 115 men.) This includes 59 people who worked for local businesses through the work release program. Twelve of them worked in food processing plants, five in car dealerships, four in another food processing plant, four in manufacturing facilities, and 34 in 25 other establishments, the report said.

IDOC Director: CDC Report Shows Pandemic “Unique Challenges”

The study, published in the Weekly Report on CDC Morbidity and Mortality, found that one of the key points was that correctional facilities with work release programs were “identified in collaboration with mass testing and public health authorities. We need to take steps to reduce (coronavirus) infections, including. ” High-risk work site. “

Inmates working in the community “should be included in the COVID-19 vaccination program,” he said.

Hundreds of cases of COVID-19 are associated with food processing plants in Idaho. According to data collected by Idaho Legislatures..

IDOC Director Josh Tewalt told Idaho Capital Sun in an email statement that the report was “unique issues related to pandemic response” to COVID-19 and “coordinated collaborative state-wide response.” He emphasized “importance”.

Mr. Tewalt said IDOC is grateful to the CDC, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Boise VA, and the Treasure Valley and East Idaho Department of Public Health.

“We continue to learn through this process and hope that this article will help others learn from the successes and difficulties of our coordinated pandemic response,” Tewalt said in a statement. ..

The report also revealed some new information about the outbreak in Idaho prisons.

As of November 30, last year, five Idaho prisoners had died from COVID-19-related causes and 18 were hospitalized, according to reports.

The researchers who produced the CDC report include Idaho’s public health and orthodontic authorities and staff.

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