Southeast Correctional Center inmate tests positive for COVID-19

Updated: Apr. 21, 2020 at 5:14 PM CDT
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CHARLESTON, Mo. (KFVS) - The Missouri Department of Corrections reports an offender at Southeast Correctional Center tested positive for COVID-19.

The correctional center is a men’s state prison in Charleston, Mo.

The Department said this marks the first MODOC offender to test positive for COVID-19 while inside a Missouri state prison.

According to MODOC, the offender has been held in an isolation wing at SECC since April 15, when he started showing COVID-19 symptoms, and continues to be treated there. His cell mate also remains isolated, separately.

The MODOC said the housing wing where the offender was previously held has been in quarantine since April 15.

They said every resident of that wing, as well as the rest of the housing unit, is being individually screened for fever and other COVID-19 symptoms.

Any offenders showing symptoms will be placed in isolation pending COVID-19 test results.

According to the MODOC, three SECC staff members who tested positive for the virus earlier in April, as well as all staff whom they had close contact, are in quarantine at home.

The Department said a viral containment plan is in effect at SECC and all other state prisons.

They said each offender interacts only with residents of his own housing unit at all times, including meals and recreation, avoiding contact with other offenders and staff.

Large group activities have also been suspended.

Protective face covers made by Missouri Vocational Enterprises have been distributed to all staff and offenders at every MODOC facility.

The Department said each SECC staff member and offender has been issued one or more of these face covers, which can be cleaned in accordance with CDC and prevention guidelines.

To minimize exposure, MODOC made the following operational changes:

  • The department has implemented strict sanitation schedules at every facility, with ample access to cleaning supplies, and has designated a point person at each facility to enforce sanitizing guidelines and to ensure the availability of soap and sanitizer.
  • The department has suspended visiting, volunteer and reentry partner programs, and regular offender transfers among facilities, except in extenuating circumstances.
  • All staff are screened, with temperature checks, before entering a facility.
  • Corizon Health provides around-the-clock on-site medical care at every prison, and medical staff have been trained in COVID-19 preparation and response.
  • Isolation cells, wings and units have been designated inside prisons. Offenders with symptoms of COVID-19, the flu or other communicable diseases are isolated from other offenders.
  • COVID-19 testing is available at every prison. Offenders with COVID-19 symptoms are tested in accordance with Centers for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines.
  • COVID-19-enhanced pandemic protocols have been implemented at every prison.

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