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Prison COVID-19 cases rise by 67

The number of inmates with COVID-19 at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility has increased over the weekend.

As of Monday afternoon, 186 inmates at FDCF have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, an increase of 67 since last reported on Friday.

According to the Iowa Department of Corrections website, the FDCF has administered 1,390 COVID-19 tests to inmates in the Fort Dodge facility.

There are 1,096 inmates currently incarcerated at FDCF, according to the DOC. Some inmates have been tested multiple times, said Cord Overton, communications director for the Iowa Department of Corrections.

As of Monday, the Iowa DOC has not reported any inmates recovering from COVID-19. One inmate died due to the illness on July 7.

Overton said that the vast majority of inmates who have tested positive have either had no symptoms or “very mild” symptoms. Inmates who test positive are placed in a single-cell medical isolation until they are determined to have recovered.

“Every positive inmate receives at least two medical checks per day by medical staff,” he said. “Those that are medically predisposed to a higher risk are monitored even more closely with extra check-ups by facility medical staff to ensure they are not getting worse.”

If an inmate’s condition worsens, Overton said, staff will provide the right medical services they require, including transport via ambulance for hospitalization.

The staff at the prison are also being tested for the coronavirus. Of the 250 staff members, 16 have tested positive to COVID-19 so far, with four having recovered as of Monday.

Overton said the DOC is not worried about having enough healthy staff to run the prison if the number of positive cases among staff continues to increase in the coming weeks.

“If we should need them, we have contingency staffing plans in place to ensure safe operation of the facility,” he said.

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