138 inmates test positive for COVID-19 at Colorado prison

Posted at 2:17 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 17:03:26-04

STERLING, Colo. — More than 130 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at a state prison in Sterling, officials announced on Friday.

Officials this week tested 473 symptomatic inmates at the prison. Of the 255 tests returned so far, 138 tests came back as positive, 104 were negative, 12 were inconclusive and one was unsatisfactory.

“Given the insidious nature of this virus we had suspected that despite seeing a relatively low number of inmates with symptoms, the number of positives was potentially much higher,” Department of Corrections Executive Director Dean Williams said in a news release. “That is exactly why we conducted this large scale testing, so that we can continue to isolate, monitor and treat any inmates who were positive and try to mitigate the spread to others inside the facility.”

The inmates who were tested were from several units on the east side of the facility, officials said. All inmates on the east side of the prison are having temperature checks taken twice a day.

The Sterling Correctional Facility has been on "Phase III" operations since April 14 in which inmates must remain in their cells in quarantine, other than using restrooms and showers. Meals and medications are being delivered to inmates in their units.

The Sterling prison previously had eight known cases of the coronavirus before widespread testing this week.

Three other facilities categorized as jails or prisons in Colorado have had coronavirus outbreaks.

The Weld County Jail had eight inmates and four staff members with the virus, as of Wednesday, according to state data. The Arapahoe Community Treatment Center had two residents and one staffer with the virus. The Intervention Community Correction Services in Weld County had 15 residents and two staffers with the virus.