Iowa Department of Corrections expands COVID-19 testing, confirms 10 additional cases

Iowa News

CORALVILLE, Iowa (KCAU) – The Iowa Department of Corrections (DOC) confirmed that the expanded testing has lead to 10 new positive cases of COVID-19 in Coralville on Wednesday.

The department said they began expanded investigative testing Tuesday, in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Public Health, at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center (IMCC) in Coralville.

Officials mentioned that the testing is focused on the inmates who came from county jails in the special intake quarantine unit at IMCC, where the first positive inmate case was located. 

Authorities said so far, there have been 69 new tests completed on the inmates in the unit and four tests completed on staff that have worked in the area. Of those, 10 results for inmates have been found positive, 11 tests are still pending, and 48 tests were negative.

The DOC also said it has also ordered an additional 150 tests that will be conducted on staff and inmates. 

They mention the department intends to continue expanding testing of inmates and staff that have worked in specific areas at IMCC, primarily those involved the intake process and quarantine units. Once these tests are completed, the testing will expand to other areas of the facility.

DOC said inmates with positive test results will continue to be moved to medical isolation cells where staff use full PPE when required to have direct contact with these inmates.  

According to IMCC, staff have moved quickly to expand mitigation efforts at the prison. They have implemented a prison-wide restricted movement, and are currently conducting a deep-cleaning of the affected unit.

The department said this prison has also suspended all non-medical admissions and transfers at this time. The vast majority of inmates remain asymptomatic and they will continue to be medically isolated and monitored for any medical needs as they recover, according to the DOC.

According to the DOC, they have been preparing for the introduction of COVID-19 since early March, and have been as transparent as possible with all of the increased efforts across all nine prisons.

The department’s pandemic policy is available here.

The department also plans to continue to expand testing at IMCC, and as the results of those tests are returned, the department will update relevant statistics on their website each day. 

Dept. Director Beth Skinner said members of the IMCC team have and continue to do everything possible to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.

“The expanded testing they are conducting will be an essential part of helping us solve this problem. By knowing who to isolate, whether they are asymptomatic or not, we will be able to help reduce the spread at the prison,” said Skinner.

Skinner also mentions that she wants Iowans to know that the courageous men and women of this department are working day and night to keep our prisons as safe as possible.

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