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Missouri Officials Discuss Handling COVID-19 Within State Prisons

Missouri's Capitol Building in 2017.
Meiying Wu / KBIA


Gov. Mike Parson and Missouri Department of Corrections Director Anne Precythe discussed how Missouri is handling COVID-19 within state prisons during a Tuesday briefing.

Precythe said prisons have been preparing since March and have taken precautions like suspending offender visitation, stopping prison transfers and screening all offenders from county jails upon arrival. Precythe also said strict sanitation has been put in place and the Department of Corrections is in the process of ensuring all facilities have adequate cleaning supplies

“Our preparation efforts have been focused on keeping the virus out of our institutions as well as a containment process if the virus gets in,” she said.

There are currently no inmates that have tested positive for COVID-19. However, 18 prisoners have been tested for the virus, she said. Thirteen tests have come back negative, four are still pending and one person did test positive while in a prison hospital but tested negative a few days later.

However, if there were to be an outbreak within a prison, Precythe said the department is considering how to create isolation cells. This could include wings of housing units or even entire units where inmates that have tested positive would be moved to hopefully contain the virus.

For more information, visit our partners at the Columbia Missourian.

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