Department expands COVID-19 Testing; 10 additional tests results are positive

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(from the Iowa Department of Corrections)
CORALVILLE- Yesterday, the department, in cooperation with the Iowa Dept. of Public Health, began implementing expanded investigatory testing at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center (IMCC) in Coralville, IA. The testing is initially focused on the inmates who came from county jails in the special intake quarantine unit at IMCC, where the first positive inmate case was located.

So far, there have been 69 new tests completed on the inmates in this unit in the last 24 hours, and 4 tests completed on staff that have worked in this area. Of those, 10 results for inmates have been found positive. 11 tests are still pending. 48 tests were negative. The department has also ordered an additional 150 tests that will be conducted on staff and inmates.

The department intends to continue expanding testing of inmates and staff that have worked in specific areas at IMCC, primarily those involved the intake process and quarantine units. Once these tests are completed, testing will expand to other areas of the facility. Inmates with positive test results will continue to be moved to medical isolation cells where staff use full PPE when required to have direct contact with these inmates.

The IMCC staff have moved quickly to expand mitigation efforts at the prison. They have implemented a prison-wide restricted movement, and are currently conducting a deep-cleaning of the affected unit. Staff continue expanding their efforts to separate healthy inmates from those that have tested positive, while following procedures that mitigate the risk to themselves and inmates. This prison has also suspended all non-medical admissions and transfers at this time. At this time, the vast majority of inmates remain asymptomatic and they will continue to be medically isolated and monitored for any medical needs as they recover.

The department has been preparing for the eventuality of the introduction of COVID-19 since early March, and has been as transparent as possible with all of the increased efforts across all nine prisons. This information, including a link to the department’s pandemic policy is available at doc.iowa.gov/department-corrections-steps.

The department plans to continue to expand testing at IMCC, and as the results of those tests are returned, the department will update relevant statistics at doc.iowa.gov/COVID19 each day.

Dept. Director Beth Skinner had the following comment on the situation: “The members of the IMCC team have and continue to do everything possible to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. The expanded testing they are conducting will be an essential part of helping us solve this problem. By knowing who to isolate, whether they are asymptomatic or not, we will be able to help reduce the spread at the prison.” She also stated, “We plan to continue to expand testing with staff and inmates to have as much information as possible as we work to fight the impacts of this virus. I want Iowans to know that the courageous men and women of this department are working day and night to keep our prisons as safe as possible.”