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Sun Dec 6, 2020, 02:32 PM

Over half of Alaska's largest prison has tested positive for COVID-19

Over half of the inmates housed at Goose Creek Correctional Center, Alaska's largest prison, have tested positive for COVID-19. Of the roughly 1,300 people imprisoned at Goose Creek, 480 inmates are considered active cases and 193 have tested positive and recovered with another 120 test results pending. If there are no more positive cases revealed from the 120 pending tests, 52% of the inmates at GCCC have now been infected with COVID-19. In late April, a GCCC inmate was the state’s first to test positive inside a department of corrections facility and only one positive case resulted. If all of the 120 remaining test results are positive, nearly 60% of the inmates at GCCC will have tested positive.

“During an outbreak, facility-wide testing is used to find individuals who are contagious though they may not have reported symptoms,” said Dr. Robert Lawrence, chief medical officer for the Alaska Department of Corrections. “Like testing everyone in a small town or neighborhood, testing sweeps of a correctional facility give us a picture of spread that has already occurred in the facility. This allows us to target isolation and quarantine strategies to particular areas in the facility in order to flatten the curve of the spread.”

All 1,300 inmates at GCCC were offered testing in what the DOC describes as “a proactive effort by the department to quickly identify and isolate any outlying positive cases.”

The DOC has reported positive cases at GCCC since the outbreak began with an inmate testing positive on Oct. 28. Prison-wide testing offered to each inmate began on Nov. 25. While testing was offered to all inmates, not every inmate was tested. According to a DOC press release, inmates who refused testing are being housed together as are inmates who have tested positive with those inmates split among symptomatic and asymptomatic, as well as inmates who have not tested positive.

Read more: https://www.anchoragepress.com/news/coronavirus/over-half-of-alaskas-largest-prison-has-tested-positive-for-covid-19/article_0527c184-3598-11eb-bd96-2fbb81f4882b.html

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