Update (Wednesday, 6:23 p.m.) — Adelyn Baxter, KTOO
As of Wednesday evening, at least seven staff members at Lemon Creek Correctional Center have tested positive for COVID-19 since last week. Most of them are correctional officers. (Read more)
Two more people who work at Juneau’s jail have tested positive for COVID-19. That means six staff at the facility have the virus.
According to a Tuesday news release from the Alaska Department of Corrections, 40 staff members at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center have been tested to date.
Four inmates have been tested, and those results came back negative. While there are no pending tests for inmates, Lemon Creek has isolation cells to keep inmates who are being tested away from the general population. They’ve been given cloth face coverings, according to the release.
The number of positive cases has climbed rapidly since last week, when authorities became aware of the first confirmed case in a staff member. They informed inmates and staff on Thursday that they had been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
There have been restrictions in place at corrections facilities statewide due to the pandemic — visitors haven’t been allowed in for about a month. And copays for prison-based health services have been waived.
In late March, all facilities started screening employees and contractors for fever at the start of each shift.
As of Monday, the inmate population at the facility was 217 inmates. The facility also has about 85 staff working four shifts under normal circumstances.
Alaska has more than 4,700 inmates statewide.