COVID-19 cases confirmed in 2nd Mich. prison

Officials said prison-wide testing was administered after a staff member tested positive

By Anya van Wagtendonk

MUSKEGON, Mich. — The coronavirus has entered a second Muskegon prison, months after the Muskegon Correctional Facility became home to the worst prison outbreak in the state.

The Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility, at 2500 S. Sheridan Drive, confirmed two COVID-19 cases among its inmates on Thursday, Oct. 22, according to Holly Kramer, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC). A total of 1,176 men are incarcerated at the facility.

Prison-wide testing was administered on Friday, Oct. 16, after a staff member tested positive for the virus, Kramer said. This revealed the inmate cases, and an additional positive case among staff.

That news comes as the neighboring Muskegon Correctional Facility (MCF) recovers from seeing more than three-quarters of the men inside the prison contract the virus, making it the worst prison outbreak in the state.

Five men incarcerated there died of the virus, and 1,004 total were infected, out of 1,295. Thirty staff members also tested positive for COVID-19.

As that infection raged, Earnest C. Brooks remained relatively unscathed. Four staff members had previously tested positive for the virus back in May, but that did not translate to broader transmission, Kramer said.

Now, the newly infected prisoners will be isolated and contact tracing will occur, Kramer said. She could not say whether any close contacts had been identified or isolated.

Weekly testing will continue until two weeks after the last positive case, Kramer said.

Representatives from the prison could not be reached for comment.


(c)2020, Walker, Mich.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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