Inmate at Wasilla prison tests positive for coronavirus

Goose Creek Correctional Center
Goose Creek Correctional Center. (Photo by Ellen Lockyer/Alaska Public Media)

An inmate at the Goose Creek Correctional Center in Wasilla has tested positive for the coronavirus, the first inmate in Alaska’s correctional system to have a positive test.

The inmate has been in isolation since April 19, according to a release from the Alaska Department of Corrections. The department said it received confirmation of the positive result at 9 p.m. on Saturday and alerted the staff at the facility late Saturday night.

Just four tests have been taken of inmates at Goose Creek. Of those, one test has come back negative and two are still pending.

The department said that it is working with the state’s Division of Epidemiology to conduct a contact tracing investigation.

Previously, seven staff at Juneau’s Lemon Creek Correctional Center had tested positive for the virus, though no inmates had. In all, the state said it has tested 63 inmates in the state’s system, with 54 results coming back negative and eight still pending.

The positive case was not included in the state’s latest case count update but will be updated in Monday’s numbers.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said that two new cases were reported on Saturday. Of those, one was a patient at a Sitka long-term care facility whose diagnosis was previously reported. The second case was in North Pole.

Goose Creek is a medium-security with a total of over 1,535 beds, according to the state’s website. In late March, the Department of Corrections announced new protocols to reduce the possibility of the coronavirus spreading within their facilities, such as conducting temperature screenings prior to the start of every staff member’s shift, stopping all family visitation and closing facility lobbies to the public.

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