HURRICANE, Utah (ABC4 News) — Nearly 100 of about 300 inmates at the Purgatory Correctional Facility in Washington County have now tested positive for the coronavirus as correctional staff move to test each housing unit.
Chief Deputy Jake Schultz with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office tells ABC4 News jail officials have only two housing units left to test for the virus since the outbreak began on June 20. The first rounds of re-testing begin on Monday.
“This week is a big step,” Schultz said. “The negative quarantines that were there just as a precaution will be cleared if they don’t test positive today, and the original positive inmates will be moved to a negative quarantine unit if they test negative this week.”
An additional 113 inmates who may have been exposed to COVID-19 but initially tested negative may be moved out of quarantine, Schultz said.
The positive inmates are currently being held in three housing units, according to jail officials. Four individuals are considered high-risk, including one inmate who was hospitalized last weekend with trouble breathing and released within a few hours.
“Most of the inmates testing positive still haven’t shown any symptoms, and the ones that have are experiencing mild symptoms,” Schultz added.
Deputies confirmed 7 guards and 2 transport officers have tested positive. Correctional staff are now providing a mask to each inmate booked into the jail and exchanging the masks twice each week.
The facility currently has approximately 308 inmates but would typically have about 475 inmates this time of year.