Dozens more contract COVID-19 in SD women's prison

Mass testing detected 51 more women with COVID-19 at the South Dakota Women's Prison

By Sarah Calams

PIERRE, S.D. — Despite efforts to control an outbreak, mass testing detected 51 more women with COVID-19 at the South Dakota Women's Prison this week.

The Argus Leader reported that a total of 172 inmates have now tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Earlier this month, about 100 inmates had tested positive, according to the South Dakota Department of Corrections.

The 51 inmates who tested positive were housed in the C and D housing units of the prison. Another 61 inmates in those housing units tested negative, according to officials. Currently, no inmate or staff deaths from COVID-19 have been reported. 

"The health and safety of our staff and inmates is our number one priority," said Mike Leidholt, Secretary of Corrections. "We will continue to work closely with DOH and follow the Centers for Disease Control guidelines."

Staff will continue to screen inmates, and all inmates and staff are required to wear masks. Staff who interact with inmates who have tested positive must wear the proper PPE, including masks, gowns, gloves and face shields.

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