DRAPER, Utah (AP) — The Utah State Prison in Draper and the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison have been placed under a 24-hour lockdown after authorities believe the general inmate populations were exposed to COVID-19.
The state Department of Corrections said the facilities went into lockdown Wednesday around 3 p.m., the Deseret News reported.
The department said in a statement that it is “coordinating with local health officials on quarantine and isolation procedures, conducting contact tracing, and ensuring that proper cleaning protocols are implemented."
Preventative measures at the prison include providing masks to all inmates and employees, increasing sanitation practices, social distancing and establishing quarantine spaces.
The state prison had previously reported 15 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 14 of which have since recovered, department officials said. As of Monday, there have been no reported inmate deaths from COVID-19 in the state.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
Multiple outbreaks have occurred in correctional facilities statewide since the pandemic began in March, and several jails have taken steps to limit the spread of the virus, including suspending programs and recreational activities and providing extra soap at no cost.