DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa prison officials reported Friday that a coronavirus outbreak has infected nearly half of the inmates at a prison in Anamosa.
Testing this week revealed 476 inmates among 985 at the prison tested positive for the virus, said Cord Overton, a spokesman for the Iowa Department of Corrections. A report provided by the department indicates 37 staff members also tested positive.
Across the nine institutions the department manages, 601 inmates are currently infected as of Friday afternoon.
The report shows coronavirus has been active in the prison system since testing began in March with more than 21,000 tests administered to inmates. It said 1,252 inmates have recovered, an indication they have at one time tested positive but are no longer symptomatic are believed to be contagious.
Among staff members at the state facilities, 76 are currently listed as positive and 190 are listed as having recovered. However, Danny Homan, president of AFSCME Council 61, which represents state workers at the prisons, said he believes significantly more workers either have tested positive or have been exposed.
Four Iowa inmates have died during the pandemic, the report said.
At Clarinda Correctional Facility, a medium security prison for men, 94 inmates and 12 staff members are positive.
A minimum security prison in Mt. Pleasant has 20 positive inmates, and three staff members currently have the virus.
Four other facilities have between one and four positive inmate cases, including a prison in Rockwell City where results from a mass testing earlier in the week weren’t yet available and could reveal more cases, Overton said.