Total COVID-19 cases in Wis. prison system surpass 7,000

Several active outbreaks across multiple prisons contributed to the increase


By Emily Hamer
The Wisconsin State Journal

MADISON, Wis. — The total number of COVID-19 cases the Wisconsin prison system has seen among inmates surpassed 7,000 Tuesday, another bleak milestone in the state's battle against the pandemic.

The state Department of Corrections added 70 new COVID-19 cases to its dashboard Tuesday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases up to 7,047 and the active case count to 2,068.

Several active outbreaks across multiple prisons contributed to the increase, including four prisons with more than 250 cases each.

None of Wisconsin's 36 adult correctional facilities have avoided the pandemic entirely.

Kenosha Correctional Center and the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility have had zero positive COVID-19 cases among inmates, but DOC staff at the facilities have tested positive. Kenosha has had two self-reported COVID-19 cases among staff, while the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility has had 23 among staff.

The rest of Wisconsin's prisons have all had at least one inmate get infected with COVID-19, and most many more.

As of Friday, 28.4% of the state's prison population had tested positive for the virus, a figure similar to that of other midwestern states.

Iowa had the highest rate of infection in its prison population with 35.8% of inmates infected, followed by Minnesota with 32.3%, Michigan with 23.3%, Illinois with 10.1% and Indiana with 7.4%, according to Friday data provided by DOC.

So far, DOC has reported 10 COVID-19-related inmate deaths, measured as prisoner deaths in which a local medical examiner or coroner has confirmed that the virus was an underlying cause of death or a significant condition that contributed to death.

Michigan has had 75 in-custody deaths related to COVID-19, Indiana has had 30, Iowa five and Minnesota three, according to DOC. Illinois did not have data on deaths available.

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(c)2020 The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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