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Update: Another Wisconsin prison has massive COVID-19 outbreak; more than 300 cases reported
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COVID-19 | WISCONSIN’S PRISONS

Update: Another Wisconsin prison has massive COVID-19 outbreak; more than 300 cases reported

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Oshkosh Correctional Institution

Oshkosh Correctional Institution had more than 300 active COVID-19 cases among inmates as of Monday.

In another massive COVID-19 outbreak in a Wisconsin prison, Oshkosh Correctional Institution had more than 300 active cases among inmates Tuesday, the state Department of Corrections reported.

The huge surge in cases comes as Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution also on Tuesday had 431 active cases of COVID-19 among inmates — the largest outbreak at a Wisconsin prison yet.

Oshkosh Correctional, which has a large number of elderly inmates, is Wisconsin’s most populous prison with 1,964 prisoners as of Friday. On Tuesday, DOC reported that the medium-security site had 337 active cases among prisoners.

An additional 27 prisoners at Oshkosh have tested positive at some point during the pandemic, but have since recovered, DOC said. Another six tested positive, but were released from the prison.

DOC spokesman John Beard said Tuesday that all of the Oshkosh inmates who have tested positive have been isolated from other prisoners and are being treated by health services staff at the prison.

“If they need greater care than we can provide at the institution, they will be moved to a local hospital (or) medical center,” Beard said.

Among DOC staff, 37 employees at Oshkosh Correctional have self-reported testing positive since the start of the pandemic, as of Monday. Of those, 24 of the cases are active, Beard said.

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Any DOC employee who tests positive is deemed “unfit for duty” and is sent home immediately, Beard said. They’re directed to contact their health care provider.

As a result of the outbreak at Oshkosh Correctional, the entire prison has been locked down, Beard said. Movement is restricted for all prisoners, not just those who were exposed to the virus or infected.

“Thus far, we have been able to isolate those with positive cases,” he said.

DOC became aware of the most recent outbreak after a smaller group of inmates who were experiencing symptoms tested positive, Beard said. Those cases prompted testing of the whole institution.

With the help of the National Guard, DOC conducted mass testing at Oshkosh over three days last week. Almost all of the results from those tests have been returned, including more than 1,500 negative tests, Beard said.

Other prisons with active cases among inmates Tuesday included Columbia Correctional Institution with 57 cases, Dodge Correctional Institution with 32, Gordon Correctional Center with 29 and New Lisbon Correctional Institution with nine cases.

Across all of DOC’s adult institutions, more than 900 inmates and 120 staff had active cases as of Tuesday.

COVID-19 in photos: How Wisconsin is managing the pandemic

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