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5 workers, 8 inmates at Dauphin County Prison test positive for COVID-19, prisoners put in isolation

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Five county or contracted employees and eight inmates of the Dauphin County Prison tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

The 13 individuals who tested positive were asymptomatic. 

Inmates who tested positive were immediately placed in an isolation unit. Anyone who had contact with them were placed in quarantine units for close monitoring. 

Staff members who tested positive were immediately sent home to quarantine for 14 days.

There were 713 negative tests.  A total of 1,098 individuals samples were taken over the past two days, including 338 county staff and contracted employees as well as 760 inmates.

The county has not received the remaining test results, totaling about 370, and will report those when they are received. Remaining test results are expected in the next 48 hours. Tests were by Primecare Medical. 

Employees who were on vacation during mass testing will be checked upon their return.

“Dauphin County Prison officials proactively conducted facility-wide COVID-19 testing on May 6 and 7 to determine if inmates and employees with few, if any, symptoms were carrying the virus to prevent further spread,” according to a press release from the county. 

Some people can carry the coronavirus without showing symptoms. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, the prison has tested several symptomatic inmates for the virus. All results came back negative, according to the press release.  

Dauphin County Prison began implementing its pandemic plan in March, taking temperatures of anyone who entered the facility, suspending in-person visitation and offering free video visitation, providing personal protective equipment to staff and inmates, and stepping up cleaning procedures in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations, according to the press release. 

Additionally, inmate transfers to and from the prison have been suspended until further notice. The transfer suspension began on April 11 in response to the pandemic.